A lot of people may not realize, but dentists can help in the treatment of sleep apnea. Although at one point it will be required that someone has a professional sleep study done, some of the different treatment options can be explained and provided by a dentist.
The devices that are available from a dentist is ones that can treat different breathing-related sleep issues. These include snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The treatment options can be as effective as a CPAP machine, but is not for everyone and will depend on the patient and their specific needs.
Some people cannot do the typical treatment of continuous air pressure that a CPAP machine gives. It could be due to the irritation of the machine or other issues. Dentists have different options when it comes to alternative treatments that can help people with sleep apnea. We will cover the two most common and help you understand more of your options.
Mandibular advancement devices (MADs)
These devices are some of the best alternative options for sleep apnea. They resemble a mouth guard that is used for playing sports, but it functions in a very different way.
They work by snapping onto the upper and lower teeth and push the lower jaw forward. By doing this the airway is opened up more and alleviates the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring. Studies have found that MADs are just as effective as other therapies in treating OSA.
Tongue retaining mouthpieces
This treatment option is typically not quite as effective as MADs, but everyone will have different results from different therapies. It’s important to remember to be open and honest with the doctor and dentist to ensure finding the best treatment for each person.
Tongue retaining mouthpieces work by ensuring that the tongue is kept down. This alleviates any snoring that happens and can be beneficial for sleep apnea.
By keeping the snoring at bay it can help to keep the airway open. This helps to keep the airway from closing which is what causes the breathing to stop and sleep to be disturbed.
Can dentists diagnose someone with sleep apnea?
After someone talks to their dentist about any sleep disturbance, never feeling rested, and issues with snoring, a dentist or medical professional can typically have a pretty good idea if sleep apnea is the issue. However, it does take having a sleep study done to be able to fully diagnose someone and begin finding treatment options that will be covered by most peoples insurance.
The sleep study is completed at a lab and will require someone to have a full nights rest. The person is monitored and all aspects of their breathing, oxygen levels, and brain activity are tracked. After the results are in you can talk to your doctor or dentist about possible treatments.
If you think you have sleep apnea, talk to the dentist during your next cleaning and checkup. They are always more than happy to give you suggestions and even refer you to a sleep center to have the study completed. Contact us today!
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