We can treat patients who have sensitive teeth with laser dentistry to minimize the possibility of pain.Instead of having to use traditional metal tools to clean your teeth, we can use laser dentistry. Along with enhancing the overall cleaning process, laser dentistry can also help with various procedures in the dental office. With laser dentistry,…
How a General Dentist Treats Sleep Apnea
Many people with sleep apnea are not even aware that they have the condition. It means that your breathing repeatedly comes to a halt during sleep, forcing you to momentarily wake up to restart your breathing. People with severe sleep apnea can have these interruptions over a hundred times each night, preventing them from getting quality sleep.
Getting sleep apnea treatment from a general dentist
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) might be referred to a dentist for an oral appliance. Muscles in the body relax during sleep and that can lead to a person’s airway getting blocked. For example, a person’s tongue might fall back into their throat and restrict airflow, or fatty tissues around the airways can relax to the point that the person’s breathing is restricted.
Dentists can help patients with OSA by providing oral appliances that help keep their airways open. These appliances are an effective way to alleviate mild to moderate sleep apnea. About 40% of people with severe OSA can get positive results when oral appliances are used. Common devices used to address sleep apnea include the following.
1. Mandibular advancement devices
Commonly known as MADs, these devices look like the mouthguards used for sports. They are customized for each patient, so they fit snugly when inserted into the mouth, snapping over the upper and lower dental arches.
These appliances come with metal hinges that connect their upper and lower halves. When worn, the device pushes the wearer’s lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing them from collapsing back into the airways. This can help prevent interruptions to the person’s breathing while they sleep. Mandibular advancement devices are easy to adjust after they have been made, so the dentist can make adjustments as needed until the device keeps the wearer’s tongue and jaw in their proper positions during sleep.
2. Tongue-retaining devices
These are also inserted in the mouth, but they fit on the wearer’s tongue. The device holds onto the wearer’s tongue via suction, preventing it from blocking their airway. Tongue-retaining devices are typically recommended when the patient’s jaw cannot be repositioned.
Combining oral appliances with CPAP therapy
The oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea can be combined with the use of continuous positive airflow pressure machines. This approach might be recommended if the patient is dealing with severe OSA.
It also allows the patient to use lower pressure settings with their CPAP machine because the appliance keeps their airway open when they sleep. Generally speaking, the lower the pressure settings on a CPAP machine, the more comfortable the experience is for the patient.
Put sleep apnea behind you
Dealing with sleep apnea? An oral appliance can help restore your sleep and quality of life. Give us a call or visit our Gilbert clinic to set up a consultation with our dentist. Your customized oral appliance can be ready in as little as two weeks.
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