Sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are highly prevalent health issues that have a major impact on your well-being and overall quality of life. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are common sleep disorders related to sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), resulting from repetitive narrowing and collapsing of the upper airway. If left untreated, SDB may further lead to several adverse health problems such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke.
A dentist can be a part of your treatment team dedicated to improving your quality of life through better sleep. A new field of dentistry called Dental Sleep Medicine now caters to offer physicians an effective option to manage sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. This field represents an interactive blend of medicine and dentistry, as dentists bring their unique skills to act on the problems that physicians face while trying to create and maintain an unobstructed airway during sleep.
Here are some of the treatments that can help you tackle your sleep disorders:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) technique has been found to prevent upper airway collapse, normalize night time sleep and breathing, improve daytime hyper-drowsiness, and decrease associated medical problems. The CPAP machine keeps your airway open by providing forced air through flexible tubing. CPAP therapy requires you to wear a mask as you sleep, and can be obstructive at times, which is why dental offices like Plaza Dental Group focus on methods that avoid the need of a CPAP machine.
Oral Appliances (OA)
An oral appliance (OA) is a device to be worn in the mouth only during sleep. It adjusts like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. A customized oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment that keeps the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position. OA’s have evolved in the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing as an increasingly popular choice to more established therapies, including continuous positive airway pressure.
Obstructive sleep apnea surgery is usually indicated when traditional treatments such as CPAP, oral appliances, and other behavioral therapies are unsuccessful or unbearable. It can be safe and remedial if performed by a well-qualified dentist, after correctly identifying specific anatomic sites or positions that contribute to upper airway obstruction, which vary among patients.
With regular follow-ups, dentists are well positioned to participate in the identification, prevention, and treatment of your sleep disorders. Visit your local dentist today!