Dental Snoring Therapy – Sleep Apnea Treatment
According to estimates, 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, with the most common signs being excessive sleepiness and snoring requiring some form of snoring therapy.
Because patients see their dentists more often than they see other health care professionals, dentists have the biggest opportunity to diagnose, treat, and educate them on sleep apnea and snoring therapy.
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It’s Important Not to Ignore Sleep Apnea
When a patient has sleep apnea, they stop breathing numerous times during the night, and in some cases, stoppages last for an extended period. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that should be addressed immediately, as it can be life-threatening.
Apart from the risk of sudden death, sleep apnea’s cumulative effects take their toll on the body’s major systems, thereby shortening life expectancy. If a patient suffers from snoring, daytime sleepiness, and other symptoms, they should seek diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
The Effects of Sleep Apnea
High blood pressure is the most prevalent condition associated with sleep apnea and oxygen loss, and numerous studies show a link between the two conditions. Other health problems linked to sleep apnea include:
- Cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Decreased libido
- Memory loss
- Premature aging
- Chronic fatigue
Aside from its medical effects on the patient, sleep apnea affects others’ lives as well. Spouses and family members may suffer from some of sleep apnea’s effects, such as sleep disruption due to loud snoring. However, it’s not necessary to suffer any longer. Dr. Bainer and the rest of our office staff, along with a detailed sleep study, can diagnose and treat patients’ sleep apnea.
Our options include dental appliances, which the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine have designated as a first-line treatment for mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Dental sleep medicine and oral appliances are an effective treatment for snoring and OSA.
Diagnosing and Treating OSA with Snoring Therapy
Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by sleep specialists. Patients must submit to a polysomnogram or overnight sleep study, which the specialist evaluates before offering a diagnosis. Most sleep specialists prescribe continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP devices to treat obstructive sleep apnea. However, the oral appliances prescribed by Dr. Bainer are effective for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, or those who can’t use a CPAP device.
Oral Appliances: What Are They?
Oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea are much like the night guards or retainers many patients have seen and used in the past. However, patients only wear the devices at night, holding the airway open to maintain a normal breathing pattern. These appliances are quiet, comfortable, and portable, and they provide relief to loved ones who no longer have to hear the noises of snoring or a CPAP machine. Furthermore, these devices are non-invasive and cost-efficient, unlike surgical options.
How Oral Appliance Treatment Works as Snoring Therapy
Oral treatment for sleep apnea involves the design, fitting, and usage of customized oral appliances during sleep. The appliance attempts to maintain a clear, open airway in the patient’s throat, working in several ways:
- Repositioning the uvula, soft palate, and lower jaw
- Stabilizing the tongue and lower jaw
- Increasing the tongue’s muscle tone
There are numerous oral appliance options, and about 40 appliances have received FDA approval for the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring. Oral appliances are often used alone, but they may also be used along with other OSA treatments such as CPAP usage, surgery, and weight management.
Dentists with oral appliance therapy training are well-versed in various appliance designs, and they will work to find the one that’s best for each patient’s needs. The dentist will work with the patient’s physician on diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing sleep apnea care. From there, the dental professional monitors the patient’s treatment and evaluates the response of the patient’s jaws and teeth.
Our Promise to You
The Smile Gallery practices the Art of Fine Dentistry. We work to ensure our patients have the most relaxed and comfortable experience possible. Our individualized patient attention means you receive the best care possible. Our friendly staff is ready to greet you warmly, set you at ease, and create a level of comfort and customer service rarely seen in the dental industry.
We understand patients who have dental anxiety and have been working for years to provide the safe, comfortable environment that makes you want to see your Escondido dentist a few times a year or anytime your teeth need dental services.