How Does a Dentist Fix Sleep Apnea?

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you’ve looked for several treatment options. Most of the time, a person recommends either a surgical procedure to correct the problem or a machine known as a CPAP that the patient must sleep with to relieve the symptoms. You may not know that, depending on your sleep apnea type. You may be able to get relief from your dentist instead.

Before you look for a dentist, it’s important to understand what sleep apnea is, the different types of sleep apnea, how each affects the body, and how they are treated so that you can choose the appropriate treatment option that is right for you. In many cases, getting treatment from a dentist is highly effective, much more comfortable, and less invasive for many patients.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes a person to stop breathing intermittently during sleep. This is typically accompanied by loud snoring and daytime fatigue even during a full night’s rest but can also include other symptoms such as migraines due to oxygen deprivation, inability to concentrate or focus, irritability, and other mood disorders.

Long-term untreated sleep apnea can lead to severe health complications such as high blood pressure and heart problems as well as brain fog, and in rare cases where the sleep apnea is severe, death is possible. For this reason, it is important to find the right treatment for you as soon as possible.

Sometimes, people neglect to try treatment because the prospect of surgery or sleeping with a machine attached makes them uncomfortable, but those aren’t always the only options available. When searching for sleep apnea treatment in Brookline, MA, you will find more options.

Underlying Causes of Sleep Apnea

We’ll cover the specific types of sleep apnea and what they mean later in this post, but first, we want to talk about some of the underlying causes of sleep apnea and how they relate to overall health.

One of the primary underlying causes of sleep apnea is obesity. Obesity restricts the airflow when resting and can worsen sleep apnea symptoms, leading to more frequent episodes of not breathing, more complications, particularly heart-related problems, and an increased mortality rate in those with severe sleep apnea.

Age and gender also play a role in whether a person has sleep apnea. As a person ages, they are more likely to develop a sleep disorder, and it has been shown that men are much more likely to develop the disorder as well.

People with oral dysfunctions and deformities may suffer more if they develop sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Though it is not widely known, there are three different types of sleep apnea. Depending on a person’s type, they will have different causes for their sleep disruptions, which will change the severity of the disorder, the risks involved, and what treatment options are available.

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by an obstruction of the airway. Most often, this is characterized by the flap that closes off the windpipe becoming stuck closed. The condition can be exacerbated by obesity as the excess weight can pressure the windpipe and lungs while resting. Oral deformities can also cause breathing problems that aggravate the condition.

2. Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is the more complex type of sleep apnea. In this case, a person stops breathing because the signals from the brain that regulate breathing stop working when a person is asleep. This type is more difficult to deal with and has a much higher rate of severe complications.

3. Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. These are the most severe cases as they combine both symptoms, requiring treatment that forces a person to continue breathing, even when the brain is not functioning properly, or the airway becomes compressed.

How a Dentist Can Help?

In obstructive or mixed sleep apnea cases, you can get treatment from your dentist through custom-made dental applications. These special dental applications are designed to change the position of the lower jaw and the throat to take pressure off the airway and ensure it remains open.

This allows patients to sleep comfortably without worrying about the effects of obstructive sleep apnea and without having to strap a medical device to their face while they sleep at night. This way, they can get more restful sleep and wake up with more energy and less of a tired all-day feeling.

Your dentist will be able to help with diagnosing your condition and figuring out which option is the right choice for your unique set of circumstances. As we said earlier, many people prefer the fit of a mouth guard over having to plug in their CPAP and sleep with it strapped to their face all night.

If by any chance you are looking for an experienced brookline dentist in MA, then we recommend Dental Partners of Brookline. They have some of the best online reviews and dental hygiene.

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