Treating Sleep Apnea at the Dentist’s Office
Have you been told you snore or even stop breathing while you sleep? Have you been diagnosed with or told you might have sleep apnea? If any of these sound like you or someone you love, getting a diagnosis and/or treatment for sleep apnea could be the difference between life and death. But if you’ve been putting off treatment because you don’t want to go through the hassle of a sleep study, there’s no need to put it off - it’s as easy as going to the dentist.
What Is It?
Sleep apnea is a breathing condition that causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep cycle. There are two different types of sleep apnea. The first, central sleep apnea, is caused by the brain failing to signal the lungs to breathe while you sleep. The second, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs due to a soft tissue blockage in the throat. While both conditions sound like snoring, it’s important to know that they’re not. As a person with obstructive sleep apnea breathes, their soft tissue collapses, stopping the oxygen from entering their lungs. Obstructive sleep apnea is frequently caused by obesity, due to the pressure on the throat from extra body weight.
How Can a Dentist Help?
The best way we’ve found to treat obstructive sleep apnea is with oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy should be done in conjunction with your doctor and should not replace CPAP therapy. For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy can help open the airway comfortably, so you never feel the need to not wear your appliance.
If you would like to discuss your options with Dr. Abelar regarding sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy, please give the office a call at 858-256-4088.