Sleep Apnea Treatment
When most people hear the term sleep apnea, they probably think they have to go to a sleep center or specialized medical facility in order to seek treatment. However, the solution may lie in a place you're already familiar with—your dentist's office! Yes, you can seek treatment for sleep apnea from your dentist. Not all dentists treat sleep apnea, but some dentists, like Dr. Jack Lenihan DMD at Lenihan & Hoffer Dental, choose to seek additional training and certifications in sleep medicine. Dr. Lenihan is well trained in treating patients with sleep apnea and is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
But What is Sleep Apnea?
Over 18 million Americans are currently living with sleep apnea—a sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop or become shallow throughout the night, disrupting your natural sleep cycle. If you consistently wake up feeling exhausted after a full night’s sleep and others are constantly complaining about your loud snoring, there may be something more serious plaguing you.
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects your breathing while you sleep and maybe one of the causes behind your snoring. While many people may have this disorder and not even know it, this sleep problem can affect waking hours, as well. Those with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) will often experience excessive daytime sleepiness, problems concentrating, and morning headaches.
Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Snoring is usually linked to obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which the airway can be blocked, and breathing can stop for short periods of time while you’re asleep. Snoring doesn’t necessarily mean that you have sleep apnea, but when combined with other symptoms, it may be a sign that it’s time to see your doctor to learn more about sleep apnea and if it is affecting your life.
Common symptoms of sleep apnea to be aware of are:
- Extreme sleepiness during the day.
- Issues concentrating.
- Headaches when waking up.
- Sore throat when waking up.
- High blood pressure.
- Restless sleep.
- Loud snoring.
- Nighttime chest pain.
If you have a partner or friend that can monitor you at night, they should be checking for periods where your breathing has stopped and then restarts abruptly.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause long-term effects on your quality of life and your well-being. Sleep apnea raises your risk of heart conditions or stroke, makes it more difficult to concentrate, can cause aggression and frustration issues, and can lead to motor accidents if you’re driving while drowsy.
Sleep Apnea Treatments In Crittenden, KY
The standard course of treatment for sleep apnea is usually CPAP equipment, which delivers a steady, controlled stream of pressurized air through a hose that attaches to a facemask that is worn while you sleep. This air helps to keep your airways open to prevent obstruction and help you sleep better.
However, some people experience CPAP intolerance, whether it’s due to latex allergies, mask leaks, or just not being able to wear it comfortably. That’s why we prefer to treat our patients with a more convenient, comfortable option—oral appliances.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is designed to treat those with mild to moderate OSA, and may actually eliminate the need for CPAP equipment or surgery. If you have severe OSA this oral appliance may also be used in conjunction with other treatments to help you manage your symptoms.
Each sleep apnea device is custom-fitted to your mouth to target and address your specific needs. Since all mouths are shaped differently, these devices cannot be one size fits all. This is why you need to turn to our qualified dentist in order to be properly fitted for your oral appliance.
How Does Oral Appliance Therapy Work For Sleep Apnea?
Repositioning the lower jaw forward while you sleep keeps the tongue away from the back of your throat, thereby reducing the possibility for an obstruction. Oral appliance therapy is the first line of treatment that we often recommend to patients with mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea, as this is a less invasive and more convenient treatment option. This can also be a great option for someone who hasn’t responded to or is not an ideal candidate for CPAP therapy.
What Are the Advantages of Wearing An Oral Appliance?
appliance therapy offers a variety of benefits, including a better
night’s sleep. However, what makes this an ideal treatment option
for many sleep apnea sufferers is that it’s non-invasive and
comfortable. Most patients find that it only takes a couple of weeks
to adjust to wearing this appliance, and it’s so small that it’s
easy to carry with you no matter where you go.