Why People with Sleep Apnea Should See a Dentist
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a patient’s breathing stops and starts irregularly throughout the night. People who snore loudly, have trouble falling asleep and who wake up in the morning tired and with headaches may have sleep apnea.
Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a variety of serious health problems that can negatively affect or prematurely end the patient’s life. Although most patients’ first instinct is to visit a physician for this condition, the dentists at La Jolla Family Smile Design have the expertise to identify and treat this sleep disorder.
Even If You Are Unsure, a Dentist May Be Able to Tell
Some patients, particularly those who sleep alone, may be unable to determine if they have sleep apnea because they are unaware of what happens while unconscious. Fortunately, a dentist may be able to help. If the teeth look worn down from grinding or the gums are inflamed and receding, these are potential warning signs that the patient may have sleep apnea.
When a dentist notices these signs, he or she often does a quick sleep survey to determine if the patient has further symptoms of sleep apnea. It also certainly does not hurt for a concerned patient to ask a dentist whether any symptoms of sleep apnea are visible. At La Jolla Family Smile Design, we can refer patients to a sleep specialist for a thorough diagnosis.
More Comfortable Treatment
The first thing many people associate sleep apnea treatment with is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Although this technology can be critical for patients with the most serious cases of sleep apnea, it is not necessary for all patients to use CPAP. Many find it to be bulky and awkward. Its noisiness can also keep patients and their sleep partners awake.
Fortunately, an alternative option that works for most patients with obstructive sleep apnea is a dental appliance. Qualified dentists can create a mouthguard for patients to wear at night. The device keeps the airway open to allow for easier breathing while asleep. It is also custom-built to fit each patient’s mouth so that it fits comfortably.
Make an Appointment
Whether you suspect you may have sleep apnea or have already been diagnosed with the condition and would like to try an alternative treatment to CPAP, the outstanding dental team at La Jolla Family Smile Design knows how to help. With an oral appliance, our dentists can help you to sleep comfortably and restfully to attain a higher quality of life with fewer health complications. To make an appointment, please call (858) 454-3044 today.