Do You Have Sleep Apnea? How A Dentist Can Help You

If you often have headaches, a sore throat, and day-time fatigue, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing intermittently while they sleep. If you sleep with a spouse, and they notice that you snore a lot, you could have this problem. However, many people undergo a sleep study at a clinic for an official diagnosis. Read on to learn why sleep apnea is dangerous and how a dentist can help you solve the problem.

Why is Sleep Apnea So Dangerous?

When you stop breathing throughout the night, your body does not get the necessary oxygen it needs, and your body wakes up in response. This means that you may not be getting a good night's rest. People with sleep apnea often develop mood swings because they aren't getting sufficient rest to function normally. If you are so tired from this condition, you could be in danger while you drive or operate machinery.

In fact, a Wisconsin study has found that the death rate is three times as high for people with untreated sleep apnea since the condition increases the risks for depression, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines can help many patients, they don't always work. Some people are never able to get used to the masks that CPAP machines use. If you are one of these people, you may want to talk to your dentist for help.

How Can a Dentist Help?

If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea — the most common type of sleep apnea where the tongue and throat muscles relax too much — a dentist like one found at Leidenheimer Dental Group Inc can help. Your dentist can make you a custom sleep apnea appliance.

These appliances look very similar to mouthguards. Instead of just resting on your teeth like a mouthguard, the appliance will actually pull your lower jaw forward. This movement will help your throat to stay open so you can breathe more easily at night. And since many patients with sleep apnea suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, these appliances can solve that problem as well.

These appliances are very easy to make. You just need to set an appointment with your dentist and he or she will take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will then be sent to a lab where they will make your appliance. At your next appointment, you can try out the sleep apnea appliance to make sure it fits well.