Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the soft tissue at the back of an individual’s throat collapses and momentarily blocks the airway during sleep. These periods of breathing cessation are brief and not life-threatening, but continued sleep apnea symptoms can cause severe medical concerns.
You can seek treatment for this disorder from your general practitioner, but your dentist can also help with your sleep apnea symptoms. Dr. Sahil Goyal, a dentist practicing in Frederick, MD, responds to frequently asked questions regarding sleep apnea treatment provided by a dental professional.
How Can I Tell If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Because sleep apnea presents when a patient is not conscious, it can be difficult to know if you have this disorder. Partners of these patients notice loud snoring or periods of breathing cessation in the night.
Individuals with sleep apnea may notice headaches or drowsiness or grogginess during the daytime. If these symptoms sound familiar, you should contact a health professional for an evaluation of your sleeping habits.
What Treatment Will a Dentist Recommend?
Your general practitioner may treat sleep apnea with a CPAP machine, which uses a mask over the nose or mouth to force oxygen into the airway as a patient sleeps. A dentist can provide an alternative treatment that may be more tolerable for some patients.
Your dentist can provide patients with a mouthguard designed to align the jaw so that the throat does not collapse and stop breathing while they sleep. These devices should be worn every night and are custom-made to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
Are There Risks with This Sleep Apnea Treatment?
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to severe medical complications, including a heightened risk of heart disease due to added stress on the heart and cognitive deterioration from a lack of good quality sleep.
The mouthguard treatment does not pose health risks for a patient, but lack of compliance in using the mouthguard could lead to a continuation of sleep apnea health concerns. You can learn more about your unique case by scheduling a consultation with your dentist.
Frederick Center for Dentistry offers sleep apnea treatments in Frederick, MD. Schedule an appointment with our dental practice online, or reach our office by phone at 301-264-5680.