Sleep apnea does not discriminate — it affects people of all ages and genders. One of the most common symptoms associated with this disorder is snoring. The loud snoring noises are caused by a person’s airways being restricted. As a result, increased pressure is needed to keep the airways open which leads to loud noises that bother anyone unfortunate enough to share a room with a snorer.
People with sleep apnea often deal with issues like difficulty concentrating, fatigue during the day, headaches in the morning, and low sleep quality.
These issues put tremendous pressure on a person’s body, and it makes them more vulnerable to a variety of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and depression.
Getting treatment for sleep apnea from a general dentist
General dentists are often the first line of defense when it comes to treating sleep apnea. Dentists can provide patients with oral appliances that help to keep their airway open during sleep.
The three types of sleep apnea are obstructive, central, and complex. Dentists can help patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — which is the most common form of this sleep disorder. OSA can be caused by several things like the tongue or jaw blocking the airway. Overweight people are also more likely to develop sleep apnea.
OSA is a treatable condition, but failing to do so can lead to chronic health issues that are a lot more challenging to treat. Untreated OSA is associated with strokes, heart attacks, hypertension, and irregular heart rhythm.
Severe cases of sleep apnea can be managed with a device known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. It delivers pressured air into the patient’s airway as they sleep, forcing their airway open.
Oral appliances can be used to manage mild and moderate cases of OSA. The appliance is customized for the patient and it prevents the tongue or jaw from blocking the patient’s airway. Sleep tests are typically used to determine the cause of the patient’s sleep disorder so an appropriate appliance can be made.
Unlike CPAP machines that require a little bit of setting up and takes up noticeable space, oral appliances can easily fit into a bag or purse. It takes less time to get used to wearing an oral appliance than using a CPAP machine at night.
Dentists can also perform surgical treatments that clear the patient’s airway like the removal of their tonsils or tissue growths blocking the flow of air. Surgical treatments are typically recommended as a last resort.
Dentists can also teach patients about lifestyle changes that can help to treat sleep apnea. For example, losing weight is typically a good idea for anyone with sleep apnea. Fatty tissues in the throat and neck area can restrict the flow of air.
Get sleep apnea treatment
When was the last time you felt rested in the morning? Give us a call or visit our Herndon clinic to set up an appointment with our dentist.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Herndon, VA.
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