Sleep apnea refers to a condition in which the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses, obstructing the airway of an individual during sleep. Though this phenomenon occurs intermittently and is not acutely life-threatening, repeated episodes can contribute to health concerns.
Your dentist can offer treatment for this condition as well as your general practitioner in mild cases. Dr. Alan Dechter and Dr. Matthew Moy, dentists located in Silver Spring, MD, describe the sleep apnea treatment you can expect from your dentist’s office.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Because sleep apnea presents while an individual is asleep, it may not be easily recognized that you have this condition. The partners of these patients might report loud snoring or brief periods of breathing cessation during the night.
If you wake up gasping in the middle of the night or notice grogginess or difficulty concentrating during the day, you might suffer from sleep apnea. You should contact a medical professional if these symptoms seem familiar.
What Treatment Can I Find at the Dentist?
Many doctors recommend the use of a CPAP machine which involves a mask worn over the nose or mouth that forces air into your airways as you sleep. Some patients do not tolerate this machine, and patients with mild sleep apnea can talk to their dentist about another treatment option.
For mild sleep apnea cases, a dentist can provide a custom-made oral appliance that a patient will wear overnight. This device is designed to keep the jaw aligned so that the back of the throat will not collapse and block the patient’s airway as they sleep.
Are There Risks with This Treatment?
This oral appliance is constructed based on your unique smile so that you can be sure that the device fits securely in your mouth while you sleep. This way, you can sleep comfortably and not have to worry about the appliance slipping out of place during the night.
Oral appliance therapy does not carry health risks, but untreated sleep apnea due to intolerance of the CPAP machine can cause health to deteriorate. Patients with sleep apnea have a higher chance of developing heart problems and cognitive issues due to persisting interrupted breathing and low-quality sleep.
Treat Sleep Apnea in Silver Spring, MD
Dr. Dechter and Dr. Moy offer sleep apnea treatment and other general dentistry solutions to patients in Silver Spring, MD. Our practice also specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or reach us by phone at 301.508.9755.