If you are one of the millions of people around the world who suffer from sleep apnea, then you are probably already familiar with at least a few of the various treatment options available for your condition. Chances are, you might also have heard that many people suffering from sleep apnea are able to find relief through the services of a sleep apnea dentist. Maybe you’ve already been evaluated by a dentist specializing in sleep medicine or maybe you’ve been thinking about contacting one. It could be, as will be the case for many people, you’ve never even heard of a sleep apnea dentist and would like to learn more. This article explains exactly what a sleep apnea dentist does and how finding one in your area may benefit you.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing during sleep. These episodes last anywhere from a few seconds to over a minute. Depending on the severity of the disease they may occur a couple of times per night to well over one hundred. Serious side effects of sleep apnea include:
Each one of these issues on their own can cause serious health concerns but bundled together can make for a grueling physical and mental health ordeal for the patient who does not seek appropriate treatment. Fortunately, there are many options available today, including those offered by a sleep apnea dentist.
A sleep apnea dentist will perform a complete evaluation and determine the most appropriate level of treatment to meet your needs. Generally, this will come in the form of some type of oral appliance therapy. These devices are similar to mouthguards worn by athletes and are designed to be worn during sleep. They work by supporting the jaw in a forward position in order to keep the airway open. Currently, there are over one hundred varieties of these oral appliances. Sleep apnea dentists with specialized training in sleep medicine design the appliances.
For many years, one of the most widely used methods of treatment for sleep apnea has been the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. While this method works well for many people, there are some who cannot tolerate its use, requiring them to seek alternate treatments. Still others lack the funds for CPAP and search for more affordable options. Oral appliance therapy is swiftly becoming a common alternative for many of those who suffer from sleep apnea.
If a sleep apnea dentist recommends oral appliance therapy, these are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy:
A sleep apnea dentist can be a valuable partner in your journey with sleep apnea. Whether you are new to the disease and are currently exploring your options, or whether you have tried CPAP and are finding it difficult to tolerate, it’s worth checking to see if oral appliance therapy might work for you. Research shows it to be a highly effective treatment choice. Even if CPAP does work well for you, having a backup device to use if your machine breaks down or the power in your home suddenly goes out for any reason is a good idea.
Keep in mind, if you don’t have a diagnosis, you’ll need to see your physician for a sleep apnea evaluation. More than likely, this will involve a sleep study from a board-certified sleep specialist. They will determine if you do, indeed, have sleep apnea. They’ll also investigate if it is due to an obstructed airway or if it originates in the nerves and brain. Once this is determined, your physician will make treatment recommendations, and can provide a referral to a certified sleep apnea dentist.
To learn more about seeing a sleep apnea dentist to treat your condition, contact Mark Levy DDS at (614) 777-7350. Our experienced staff can provide a full evaluation with the information you’ll need to make the best decision for you.