I have been a practicing dentist for the last 32 years. My specialty is Prosthodontics; the American Dental Association recognized specialty that deals with the restoration and replacement of teeth. I thoroughly enjoy practicing dentistry, but it was difficult to ignore the growing Sleep Apnea epidemic and the toll it’s taking on our collective health. All of this led me to add Dental Sleep Medicine to my practice. Oh, and the small (not-so- small) detail that I snore and have kept both me and my wife from getting a restful night’s sleep for years.
A simple Test Diagnosed My Sleep Apnea
I realized it was time for ME to get a sleep test. It’s a simple home test that provides vital information and is the ONLY way to diagnose Sleep Apnea. No surprise, I found out I have mild Sleep Apnea! (You should know that if you are diagnosed with severe Sleep Apnea, a CPAP is usually prescribed by a sleep medicine specialist.)
I made my own sleep appliance and wear it religiously. My wife sleeps like a baby since I have been wearing that sleep appliance. She calls it a miracle and I know I sleep better, wake up less during the night and feel more rested – it’s literally been life changing for us both.
Snoring Puts A strain On Relationships
In my practice, I see this same scenario played out over and over again. Snoring can put a great strain on relationships, sometimes pushing couples to sleep in separate bedrooms. My Sleep Apnea patients are delighted, getting the best sleep they have in years and their bed partners thank me for saving their relationship. I even have one patient who said they started to dream again since wearing a sleep appliance.
Sleep Apnea Can Lead To Serious Health Problems
Sleep Apnea will not just go away; it WILL get worse over time and can lead to very serious health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, increase risk of stroke and heart attack – to name just a few. Dentists can have a profound effect on patients with snoring and Sleep Apnea problems. Specially trained dentists are the experts in making oral appliances that position your lower jaw forward and help keep your airway open all night while you sleep; helping you breathe normally and preventing snoring.
The bottom line is that if you snore or sleep poorly ask you doctor, or dentist if you should get a sleep test. If snoring causes a problem at home, insist that you get a sleep test. For mild to moderate Sleep Apnea, an oral appliance is key to a good, healthier night’s sleep. It can save your relationship and your life.