Dental sleep medicine is where dentistry and medicine overlap. Studies estimate that up to 40% of Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and one of the most common of these disorders is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA restricts your ability to breath during periods of sleep, and can significantly raise your risk of stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Dental sleep medicine can address OSA, and help you breathe better. We work closely with a team of local specialists and sleep physicians, to ensure that you receive the best care possible. Breathe easier!
The symptoms of sleep apnea are easy to recognize in yourself or your partner. Snoring is associated with sleep apnea, particularly if it’s accompanied by frequent pauses in breathing.
Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up with a very dry or sore throat, occasionally waking up due to a choking or gasping sensation, restlessness when sleeping, daytime drowsiness, and morning headaches. If you notice one or more of these issues, contact a sleep specialist to determine whether or not obstructive sleep apnea is the source of the problem.
A nighttime sleep appliance may be prescribed to protect your airway as you sleep if you have mild OSA or are CPAP intolerant. These appliances, which look similar to a sports mouthguard, are designed to open your airway and reposition your lower jaw to a healthier position, which prevents the soft tissue of your airway from collapsing during sleep.
Also, sleep apnea often causes bruxism (pathologic teeth grinding). If your doctor suspects tooth wear and damage from bruxism, a night guard may be prescribed to protect your teeth from grinding and keep your jaw relaxed at night.
CPAP machines are still the gold standard for treatment in cases of severe obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” This machine uses a pump and a face mask to deliver a stream of gently pressurized air into your airway and lungs as you breathe in during sleep.
Because the air you breathe is pressurized, a CPAP machine prevents your oral and airway tissues from collapsing and obstructing your breathing. Although they are very effective, many people are intolerant of CPAP machines. Give us a call today to discuss your options!