Do you suspect or know that you have sleep apnea? If so, you may not even realize that you can see your dentist about the problem. Many people aren't aware that dentists can successfully treat this common sleep issue for some patients. In fact, a growing number of dental professionals offer sleep apnea treatment along with dental care in their practices.
But before we delve into explaining how and why dentists treat sleep apnea, it's important to first understand what sleep apnea is and how it affects your mind, body, and everyday life.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is, unfortunately, a common issue. Millions of people in the United States alone suffer from a form of sleep apnea known as obstructive sleep apnea.
People with obstructive sleep apnea stop and start breathing repeatedly throughout the night. This is generally due to the relaxation of the person's throat muscles, which block the airway. When the person ceases breathing, they often awaken, though they may not remember the event. This leads to regularly interrupted sleep, which can make sleep apnea sufferers feel tired.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Sore throat or dry mouth
- Headaches in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight gain
- Mood changes, like irritability
- Memory loss
Your sleep partner may also notice that you stop and start breathing occasionally.
There are several forms of sleep apnea, but according to the American Dental Association, obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent. If you're concerned that you may have sleep apnea, we recommend that you contact us to set up an appointment for a sleep evaluation.
With a sleep evaluation, our skilled dentist, Dr. Milana, can help you find out for sure if you suffer from sleep apnea. If you do have sleep apnea, we can then pursue a treatment.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Your Dentist's Office
Now that we've explained what sleep apnea is, it's easier to convey how and why dentists treat the issue. Dentists have been involved in sleep apnea treatment for a long time because a standard treatment for sleep apnea is a night guard or custom oral appliance.
Dentists have worked with various physicians and specialists to create custom oral appliances for patients to help them breathe freely while they sleep.
Other common treatment options include:
- CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure therapy) machine, which blows air through the nose to keep the airway open in most cases
- Diet and lifestyle changes
- Changes in sleep positions
- PAP (positive airway pressure) therapy, which also uses a machine to deliver air through the nasal passages
At Arcadia Dentistry, we know how important it is to treat sleep apnea, so we work with every patient who comes in to find the right treatment path for them, whether that's a custom oral appliance that keeps the airway open or a CPAP machine.
Dr. Milana collaborates with each patient to create a personalized treatment plan for their specific situation. He is here to help you get the most out of life, and with sleep apnea treatment, you can improve your day-to-day existence.
Since sleep apnea causes many patients to feel tired during the day and have difficulty concentrating, it can affect your performance at work and your relationships with friends and family. It can even cause accidents, like car crashes, due to distracted driving or falling asleep at the wheel.
If you suspect or know you have sleep apnea, we always recommend pursuing treatment for your safety and happiness.
Sleep Apnea vs. TMJ/TMD Treatment
Another interesting fact many people aren't aware of is the link between sleep apnea and TMJ disorders. Many people who have TMJ disorders (temporomandibular joint disorder) also experience sleep apnea.
Fortunately, since we treat many patients' cases of TMD with night guards or custom oral appliances, the treatment can actually provide a solution for both problems at once. If a night guard or oral appliance doesn't successfully treat your TMD, we have other options to try, like muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory medications.
The most important thing we want our patients to remember is that living with pain and discomfort due to TMD or sleep apnea is not necessary. We are here to help you treat these problems, creating solutions that work for your specific needs.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Phoenix, AZ
If you're experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, reach out to our friendly dental professionals today to schedule a sleep evaluation. If you already know you have sleep apnea, we are here to provide you with excellent treatment options so you and your loved ones can achieve a restful night's sleep.
There's no need to suffer. After treating sleep apnea, many patients feel more energetic and ready to go about their day upon waking. This new energy may help you reignite passions that you felt too tired to engage in previously, along with improving your time with friends and family.
Dr. Milana is skilled in both dentistry and caring for patients with sleep apnea. Please give us a call with any questions or concerns. We would love to help you fix your sleep apnea and TMD problems.