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Can Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Dentist

Dental medicine has made advances in recent years in optimizing oral appliances so they can effectively reduce the effects of sleep apnea. CPAP (constant positive air pressure) machines are not for everyone sometimes they are too uncomfortable and interfered with sleep. Oral appliances can be an alternative to or supplementation of a CPAP machine.

There is a good reason to treat sleep apnea. Along with being disruptive to sleep, in some cases, it can become deadly if it occurs in a patient who has severe asthma or congestive heart failure, or other cardiac or respiratory problems. To fully understand how a dentist can help you with sleep apnea, a better understanding of the condition is needed.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disruptive affliction that interferes with normal breathing patterns during sleep. The lack of air and broken sleep causes a feeling of fatigue and lack of focus the next day. There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea which is caused by a blocked airway. There are several factors of why someone has obstructive sleep apnea, but among them are obesity and the shape of the jaw.

When an obstructive sleep apnea sufferer’s tongue and jaw muscles become fully relaxed, this state happens when you fall into a state of deep sleep.  It is generally while in a deep sleep that most people’s airways will remain open and unobstructed, even as the muscles in the airway are entirely at ease. When someone with obstructive sleep apnea airway muscles relaxes, the back of their throat becomes blocked and interferes their breathing.

Typically when someone stops breathing, they are jolted awake by an automatic response from the brain. In other cases people will roll over and continue to sleep, completely unaware their breathing had stopped during the night. In both instances, sleep apnea interferes with healthy sleep and eventually will cause problems with the immune system due to lack of sleep.  Obesity has also been linked to lack of sleep, and as previously mentioned is one of the causes of sleep apnea; if no intervention takes place, this vicious cycle will continue. A dentist can help treat your sleep apnea to make sure your airway stays open, and you get a full night’s sleep.

What Are Additional Problems Caused by Sleep Apnea?

Among the unwelcome effects of sleep apnea are:

  • Broken sleep
  • Sore throat
  • Being woken up by a choking sensation
  • Loud snoring
  • Higher Risk of Stroke

Who Can Get Sleep Apnea?

Everyone can get sleep apnea, but there are factors which put some people more at risk. A family history of sleep apnea significantly increases the chances of having the condition. Even without a family history of sleep apnea, certain conditions will put you more at risk. If you an obese male over 40 years old you are in the most at-risk demographic for developing sleep apnea.  Deviated septum and as previously mentioned, small jawbones put people at a higher risk of getting sleep apnea.

Not All Sleep Apnea Sufferers Can Tolerate CPAP

For decades the standard treatment for sleep apnea has been CPAP (constant positive air pressure) machine, with few options. CPAP machines function by using air pressure to push the tongue to the front of the mouth and clear the back of the throat of obstruction, and opening the airway.

The CPAP device can be highly uncomfortable since it runs through a hose which attaches to a nosepiece that covers the whole nose. The nosepiece can be very uncomfortable and interfere with sleep. In some cases where connecting the device to a suffer’s nose is not an option, a no less agreeable facemask is used.

If you are one of the many who has sleep apnea and cannot use a CPAP machine; a qualified dentist can help you. They can provide you with an effective dental sleep solution. The good news is that hope exists for those who suffer from sleep apnea and can’t use CPAP machines for reasons as varied as noise to chafing. In the field of sleep-related dentistry, advances have been made in developing dental sleep solutions for sleep apnea.  This progression has mainly been through the use of oral appliances. These dental devices are FDA approved and are the solution for sleep apnea suffers who can’t use CPAP.

How Do Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Work?

There are a few different types of FDA approved oral appliances that can be used to combat sleep apnea. Mouthpieces are the most popular and in the majority of cases, the most effective. These dental devices look like an athletic mouthpiece used to guard teeth in an impact. The mouthpiece moves the jaw forward when inserted. The device fights sleep apnea in the upper airway by decreasing air resistance and by widening the airway itself. Mouth guards also reduce deep snoring because they reduce vibration in the airway that causes snoring. Each mouthpiece is customized to fit an individual sleep apnea sufferer. It can also be used to improve CPAP treatments.

Mark Levy DDS, an Expert in Dental Sleep Medicine

Mark Levy DDS has the qualifications, and experience to treat your sleep apnea. He understands how challenging every day can be for those who have sleep apnea. Doctor Levy has been providing effective dental sleep solutions by treating Sleep Apnea with oral appliance therapy since 2005.  Dr. Levy is a member of both the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines. Dr. Levy has compiled hundreds of hours of relevant education, and he strives to learn about the latest methods and technology used in treating sleep apnea with Oral appliances.

If you are currently suffering from sleep apnea and are ready to try something other than CPAP; contact us right away. Call 614-777-7350 or fill out our simple online contact form today. A member of Doctor Levy’s staff will contact you and schedule a time to discuss how Doctor Levy can help you with sleep apnea. Don’t suffer through another night waking up gasping for air, or loudly snoring. Doctor Levy can bring your sleep apnea under control with an oral appliance.

Call Mark Levy DDS at (614) 777-7350 to find out if you’re a candidate for dental sleep apnea treatment.