Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It can cause various symptoms, including snoring, gasping for air during sleep, fatigue, and headaches upon waking. While many people seek treatment for sleep apnea from a primary care physician or a sleep specialist, dentists can also play a critical role in diagnosing and treating this condition.
The qualified team at Castle Valley Dental of Castle Rock, CO, proudly offers premium dental services, providing the community unrivaled access to the best expertise and technology to help you get a better night’s rest.
What is Dental Sleep Medicine?
Dental sleep medicine is a specialty field that focuses on diagnosing and treating sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Dentists who practice dental sleep medicine work closely with physicians to diagnose and treat OSA and other sleep-related conditions. Although there are many causes of sleep disorders, sleep apnea is the most common ailment dental professionals treat.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of sleep apnea usually involves a sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram. During a sleep study, patients are hooked to various monitors that measure their heart rate, breathing, oxygen levels, and other vital signs while sleeping. A sleep specialist then analyzes this data to determine whether the patient has sleep apnea and how severe it is.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity of the condition and the individual patient’s needs. In mild cases, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bed may be effective. For moderate to severe cases, several treatment options are available:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth during sleep that delivers a continuous air flow to keep the airway open.
Oral Appliance Therapy: Oral appliances are custom-made devices that fit over the teeth like a sports mouthguard. They work by repositioning the jaw to keep the airway open during sleep.
Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct structural issues in the nose or throat that contribute to sleep apnea.
How Can Dentists Help with Sleep Apnea?
Dentists who specialize in dental sleep medicine can play a critical role in the treatment of sleep apnea. They can work with physicians to diagnose the condition and provide treatment options, including oral appliance therapy. Dentists can also monitor patients’ progress and adjust their treatment plans to ensure the best possible outcomes.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, it’s essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Untreated sleep apnea can have serious consequences, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Contact your dentist or physician to schedule a consultation and learn more about your treatment options.
Your Local Quality Professional
Dental sleep medicine is essential to helping patients with sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea. With the right treatment plan, you can improve your sleep quality, reduce your risk of severe health complications, and enjoy a better quality of life. If you are struggling with sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to seek treatment from a dentist or physician specializing in dental sleep medicine. During your next consultation with a skillful team at Castle Valley Dental of Castle Rock, CO, you can be sure you are receiving the best care and advice you deserve.