Have you ever woken in the morning after what seems like a great night sleep only to find yourself feeling fatigued? This is just one of the symptoms of sleep apnea, a condition that affects many people and is a serious medical condition. Often accompanied with disruptive snoring, sleep apnea is when you completely stop breathing while you’re asleep. It’s a tiresome condition that affects not just the patient, but in many cases their partner.
Many people would never think a dentist can help with such a serious medical condition, however they can in fact play a key role in the management of sleep apnea, helping you achieve a sound sleep and better quality of life. How? Well there are a few key things to know about sleep apnea:
It’s often all about your mouth
Sleep apnea can occur when there is obstruction of the airways, sometimes due to jaw and tongue position. One way to combat this is to alter the jaw position, creating a more open airway and improving airflow while sleeping. If you present to your dentist with sleep apnea they will first (most likely) send you to a sleep specialist to monitor a sleep cycle to gauge how sever your apnea is. Once you have an idea of if your apnea is mild, moderate or severe, your specialist and dentist will work together to find a dental appliance to help reposition the jaw and mouth.
What kind of dental appliance?
The dental appliances used for sleep apnea are also known as an oral appliance, and it is created from an impression of your teeth made by the dentist. As each person’s jaw is different, your oral appliance will be created especially for you to reposition your jaw. This is achieved by the appliance gently pushing the jaw forwards to create a more open airway to reduce throat obstruction and minimise vibration – snoring, and improving your sleep.
Do I need a dentist or can I buy over the counter?
You may see similar oral devices in the chemist, but as any sleep specialist will tell you, you must get an oral device from a specialist dentist. Every now and then you will need your device altered a little to adjust to your apnea and provide maximum comfort.
Just like we are all different, so are our dentists, so to treat your sleep apnea make sure you visit a specialist dentist like those at Bay Street Dentist to start on the road to a good night sleep, and a better life.