How Can a Dentist Help a Person Experiencing Sleep Apnea?

Posted May 27, 2021 by in Health + Fitness

Statistics offered by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggest that right now the country has almost 25 million adults suffering from sleep apnea. This is a serious fact as failure in managing the condition can have dangerous consequences. 

If you are suffering from sleep apnea, you must consult an experienced dentist right away. People in Sedona can consider visiting Peak Family Dental Care. Are you wondering how a dentist can help you get rid of sleep apnea? Read through the section below to find an answer:

About Dental Sleep Medicine 

Dental sleep medicine is an area of dentistry that involves treating sleep apnea and loud snoring. Dentists specializing in this field of dentistry work with clinicians and doctors to come up with the most effective treatment strategy for patients diagnosed with sleep apnea. 

These experts typically manage the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) using oral appliance-based therapy. Right now, the treatment involves the use of two kinds of appliances. They are tongue-retaining devices and mandibular advancement devices. Along with the devices, dentists also use CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. 

A Detailed Discussion on Sleep Apnea Treatment 

To receive effective treatment for sleep apnea, you must inform your dentist about your symptoms. Next, you’ll need to undergo a series of tests or sleep study. These tests will help in confirming the diagnosis. Depending on your preference you can undergo the sleep study at home or at a dental clinic. If you choose to get the tests at home, a clinician must be present to supervise the procedures.

If your symptoms are severe, your dentist will most likely advise you to undergo CPAP therapy at first. The therapy involves the delivery of pressurized air all through the night, which in turn reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea significantly. Once the symptoms become mild, you’ll have to manage them using tongue-retaining devices, or mandibular advancement devices, or both. 

Individuals with mild sleep apnea usually don’t need CPAP therapy. They experience significant improvement in their condition just by using tongue-retaining devices and/or mandibular advancement devices.

What Role Do the Dentists Play?

Dentists play an extremely crucial role in helping patients recover from sleep apnea. They must get a detailed medical history of the patients, note down the symptoms, analyze the information, and carry out sleep tests for the final diagnosis. 

Once they are sure that the patients have sleep apnea, the dentists must determine whether an oral appliance will be able to manage the condition effectively. After prescribing the use of oral devices, the dentists must check the patient at regular intervals. This is crucial for tracking the patients’ progress and confirming that they are receiving the best possible treatment. 

Before you visit a dentist to seek treatment for sleep apnea, make sure that he has a specialization in the required field. Additionally, you must ensure that the dentist works as part of a team consisting of doctors and clinicians. A reputable dental clinic will connect you to such specialists. 

*Photos by Ketut Subiyanto