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How a General Dentist Can Help Your Sleep Apnea Treatment with an Oral Appliance
If you think you have sleep apnea, your dentist can help you overcome its effects. You may first think of visiting a general physician, but your dentist has some treatments that can work well. Ignoring this condition can have some serious consequences. If you are nervous about how to deal with this condition, your dentist can help you feel more comfortable. You can then rest well at night and enjoy good health.
Understanding sleep apnea
There are two types of this condition: central and obstructive. The first is related to when the brain fails to send signals to the respiratory system. The second type occurs when there is blockage in the airway, preventing effective breathing. This obstruction can be from the tongue or excess tissue.
This dysfunction causes the person to stop and restart breathing while asleep. The breathing can stop for a few seconds but may be as long as a few minutes. Symptoms can include exhaustion and grogginess throughout the day, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Untreated, the person could have cardiovascular troubles such as a heart attack or stroke.
At a dental appointment, the patient will explain how long the symptoms have been present. The dentist will ask additional questions about whether the patient snores or has sore throat episodes. The dentist will then examine the patient to make an accurate diagnosis. This will include X-rays and a look at the patient’s tonsils, adenoids, and other tissues in the throat.
A mouthguard is often the first line of defense the dentist will use against sleep apnea. This device fits into the person’s mouth over the teeth. The patient will wear it overnight while sleeping. It pulls the jaw forward, opening the airway. This allows the patient to breathe regularly without frequent interruptions. It may require a few adjustments for the mouthguard to fit well and work effectively.
Some people who have sleep apnea have their tongue to blame. While the individual is asleep, the tongue can roll to the back of the mouth, preventing enough air to get in and out of the throat. The dentist may recommend getting a tongue depressor. This device holds the tongue in place so it will not obstruct the airway.
An oral device will not always work against sleep apnea. In more serious cases, the dentist will advise that the patient has surgery. There are a few different options available. This may include removing the excess tissue from the throat. The patient may also need their tonsils removed.
You can breathe correctly at night once more
Having sleep apnea can be a scary prospect that you do not want to avoid treating. It can cause you to sleep poorly but has more serious consequences. If you want to avoid heart problems and treat this condition, call your dentist today. With the help of a mouthguard or tongue depressor, you can remove the obstruction to your airway and breathe well at night once again.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Do I Have Sleep Apnea in Sacramento, CA.
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