Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night gasping? Does your partner complain about your loud snoring? Do you feel groggy and not well-rested in the morning? These symptoms can point to obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which the soft tissue at the back of the throat relaxes and collapses during sleep to block the airway.
You then experience a brief cessation of breathing that can impact your quality of sleep. Though not acutely dangerous, untreated sleep apnea can lead to many health concerns like cognitive issues and a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.
You should talk to a doctor if you suspect you have sleep apnea. But your dentist can also assist you with this problem when you call your local dental practice. Read on to learn more about how your dentist can help treat mild cases of sleep apnea.
Is Sleep Apnea a Dental Problem?
Many factors can put you at risk of obstructive sleep apnea, including obesity, alcohol consumption, and underlying medical problems. But sleep apnea can also occur due to oral health issues.
If your teeth or jaw are misaligned, this can increase your risk of muscle and tissue collapse at the back of the throat as you sleep. A dentist is an expert in your teeth and gums, but they also study the airway and can help with problems that accrue there like sleep apnea.
The dentist can diagnose the cause of sleep apnea, including alignment issues. Then they can provide effective treatment to address the problem and relieve symptoms for better sleep.
How Can My Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?
A doctor can treat sleep apnea using a CPAP machine. These devices feature a mask worn over the nose or mouth that forces air into your airways to ensure you keep breathing as you sleep. But some people do not appreciate the discomfort of the mask or the noise of the machine.
Patients can comply better with a more comfortable fitting option from their dentist. A dentist can treat mild cases of sleep apnea with a custom-made night guard. You wear this oral appliance as you sleep, and it keeps your jaw aligned in a position that will prevent the tissue collapse of sleep apnea.
The custom design ensures it fits both comfortably and securely in the mouth. You will not have to worry about the guard slipping out of place.
A dentist can also treat underlying bite problems that may cause sleep apnea. They can straighten crooked teeth with custom plastic aligners called Invisalign. When worn as directed, the aligners gradually push teeth into a straighter position that can ultimately stop sleep apnea.
Some more severe cases of sleep apnea will need other medical solutions to resolve. But you should consult your dentist to learn if oral health care can fix this sleep disorder and improve your overall health. Call your dentist in Hartland, MI today at 810.255.5203.