Short answer: yes.
Long answer: keep reading!
In this article, we’ll look at ways a dentist can help you with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you have no idea what OSA is, don’t worry—just keep reading because we’re going to talk a lot about OSA.
Actually, let’s start from the beginning…
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Richards’s wife tells him quite a bit that he wakes up in the middle of the night gasping for air. His wife gets scared because he makes choking sounds. This frightens his wife, as you can imagine.
But what is causing Richard’s gasping and choking sounds?
Richard doesn’t know, and neither does his wife. All they know is that it’s frightening and it wakes both of them up from a sound sleep. This is a common scenario we hear from sleep apnea patients and their families.
You see, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway completely collapses while a person sleeps. This collapse causes blockage of the airway and the airflow into the lungs. This is why sleep apnea patients oftentimes wake up coughing, gasping, or choking.
During sleep, the lower jaw relaxes and the soft tissues in the throat region move into the airway space. OSA is a pretty common condition. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, “it is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 80 percent of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed.”
Unfortunately, many people don’t even know they have OSA. That is a serious problem in and of itself, considering how dangerous untreated OSA can be (more on this in a later section).
Since this is such a common condition, we want you to be aware of the symptoms it causes. Be on the lookout for the common symptoms of OSA in yourself and in your loved ones.
Common symptoms of OSA
Falling asleep at inappropriate times
Sudden waking, choking, coughing, or gasping
Waking up at night feeling short of breath
Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
Headaches upon waking up
Sleepiness while driving a vehicle
Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment as soon as possible with your dentist or doctor. If you have any questions, call our dentist office (contact details can be found here).
Is sleep apnea a serious health condition?
How worried do you need to be if you’re experiencing a few symptoms mentioned earlier? Will the symptoms just go away on their own without treatment? Is sleep apnea a serious threat to my overall health?
These are all common questions regarding obstructive sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with OSA, it is best to start treatment right away. Untreated OSA can lead to serious health problems.
Actually, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say that untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to:
a shorter life expectancy
falling asleep while driving or operating heavy machinery
high blood pressure
bothering your bed partner while he/she is trying to sleep
increased rates on your life insurance policy
feeling miserable due to lack of sleep
As you can see, these are all serious health conditions. So when patients ask us whether or not sleep apnea is a serious health condition, our answer is a resounding “yes.”
So just remember, without accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, OSA can pose serious health consequences.
How can a dentist treat obstructive sleep apnea?
If sleep apnea is diagnosed, several treatment options exist. A couple of treatment options include:
the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine
oral appliance therapy (OAT)
It is important to find a dentist who is properly trained and educated to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Not every dentist can do this.
Dr. Brett Silverman is trained and educated, though, to help his patients overcome OSA for a restful night’s sleep.
Oral appliances instead of a CPAP machine
A lot of doctors and dentists prescribe a CPAP machine to help patients, but it doesn’t work for everyone. As a matter of fact, many patients find them cumbersome and inconvenient.
What’s the most common alternative to the CPAP? Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is oftentimes used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Oral appliances have several advantages over the CPAP, and they are very effective, as well. With an oral appliance (similar to a sports mouthguard), it simply gets placed in your mouth before falling asleep. Then you remove it when you wake up in the morning. Cleaning it is simple, too.
Overall, an oral appliance for OSA is safe and effective for those suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Find out how Dr. Silverman can help your OSA problems Dr. Brett Silverman treats obstructive sleep apnea with an oral appliance instead of the CPAP machine. He understands the anatomy of oral structures, including the jaw (mandible).
Dr. Silverman’s patients have found great success with noninvasive, custom-made oral appliances that hold the lower jaw slightly forward while sleeping, which prevents airway blockage. He can determine which one is best for your situation— a tongue retaining appliance or a mandibular repositioning appliance.
The appliance will be custom made to fit comfortably in your mouth—you won’t get that comfortable fit with any over-the-counter sleep apnea device.
Call ACFDGA today.
If you live in or near Alpharetta, GA and are experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, call us today for an evaluation. Rest assured, we will help you get a peaceful night’s sleep with our oral appliance therapy for OSA sufferers.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with OSA and are seeking treatment from a local dentist or doctor, call Dr. Silverman today. You can meet with him during a consultation to discuss your situation and your unique needs.
We look forward to providing you with effective OSA treatment for a restful night’s sleep.