Did You Know Your Dentist Can Treat Sleep Apnea?

by Robert C. Rawdin, DDS

The importance of sleep cannot be over-emphasized. Sleep replenishes your body and mind. Sleep allows your body to stay healthy and recharges your battery every day so you can be active and productive in your daily life.

If you don’t sleep well, you know it. Poor sleep or deprivation of sleep will take its toll on the way you feel and have negative health consequences. The reasons for poor sleep can be numerous, but there are many things you can do to help improve your sleep. The key is to identify what is causing your sleep issues.

Do you have a sleep disorder?

Sleep Apnea is a condition that greatly impacts the quality of your sleep. Many people who have Sleep Apnea are not aware that they have it. Estimates run, from 30-80 million people in the US are affected with sleep apnea, and are undiagnosed. With Sleep Apnea you actually stop breathing while you sleep. Each episode of non-breathing lasts at least 10 seconds and can happen hundreds of times per night! Without breathing, your body is deprived of oxygen and this can lead to serious health issues if left untreated; high blood pressure, diabetes, higher risk of stroke and heart attack, cardiovascular disease and weight gain. You also can’t get into deep sleep if your brain is constantly arousing you to start breathing.

What are the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea are fairly obvious, but many people ignore them and feel they just don’t sleep well. Others have no idea they have Sleep Apnea – think of the high profile, recent headlines of train operators and the catastrophic results of working while sleep deprived. If you are feeling tired all the time, have morning headaches, snore a lot, feel irritable and/or depressed, have high blood pressure, or can’t lose weight, chances are that you have Sleep Apnea.

Not everyone with Sleep Apnea needs a CPAP

Most people, who know anything about Sleep Apnea, associate it with the CPAP machine. This is a mask that provides Continuous Positive Air Pressure. Many people reject the idea of having to use this and would rather do nothing. The CPAP is a very effective device to prevent sleep apnea. However, it is best employed in patients with severe Sleep Apnea. Contemporary wisdom these days agree that the use of oral devices are very effective treating Sleep Apnea in those with mild to moderate Sleep Apnea. Dentists who are trained in dental sleep medicine make these devices. Sleep appliances are also indicated in cases where patients cannot tolerate the CPAP or just refuse to use it.

Sleep tests are simple – and might save your life!

Testing for Sleep Apnea is quite simple. In most cases, a simple home sleep test is available. In the past testing meant a trip to a sleep lab where, ironically, no one really gets a good night’s sleep!

If you sleep poorly, you need to talk with your doctor or dentist. If a sleep test is indicated (based on answering a few questions), you can easily be set up to have a home sleep test. The treatment can be much simpler than you may have thought; an oral device is a non-invasive approach that is effective in about 85% of patients. The oral device is portable and easily used anywhere.

Treat your Sleep Apnea. It can be life changing and in some cases, life saving. To learn more, visit sleep.gallery57dental.com

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