Are you getting a good night’s sleep? Is loud snoring keeping you or your partner awake at night?
Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are two of the most common sleep disorders affecting approximately half of the adult population today. In addition to keeping a patient from getting a good night’s sleep, snoring and/or sleep apnea can also present a serious health risk. It has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and systemic disease. Worcester, MA dentist Dr. Robert Gauthier works with patients to both treat snoring and determine if they are suffering from OSA.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Diagnosing a sleep-related breathing disorder such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea typically involves the dentist as well as the patient’s physician and/or other specialists. Diagnostic imaging such as x-rays may be done to examine the airway and look for signs of blockage. A sleep study may be performed, either at home or at a specialist’s office, to evaluate the quality of your sleep.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Left untreated, OSA can significantly increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and impact the severity of systemic disease, such as diabetes. Patients with OSA repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night! This reduces oxygen flow to internal organs and causes you to wake up with a loud snore, as breathing is restored. Although many patients are unaware of their snoring, many experience similar daytime symptoms related to the disorder.
Russell Street Dental Associates offers oral appliance therapy to address the complications of snoring and reduce the health risks associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A custom-made oral appliance can be compared to a mouthguard or snore guard. It is a more convenient and comfortable option than a CPAP machine. It will push your jaw forward to create more space in your airway for oxygen to flow freely. It is not uncomfortable, but you will need a couple of days to get used to it. It is only worn during sleep.
The process of creating a custom oral appliance is quick. First, your Worcester MA dentist will conduct a comprehensive dental exam to determine if there is anything that should be treated before creating your oral appliance. Then, he or she will take impressions of your teeth to use as a template. We will create your new oral appliance in a few day and have you back in to try it out. We will adjust it if needed, but it usually fits snuggly in your mouth the first time you try it on.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Tendency to fall asleep while reading, watching television or driving
- Loud snoring
- Gasping while sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Problems with concentration, mood, and mental clarity
If you are concerned about snoring or a possible sleep disorder, discuss your symptoms with your dentist at your upcoming dental appointment. Contact Russell Street Dental Associates in Worcester or schedule online today. Restore your health with a great night’s sleep. Give us a call at (508) 687-6579, or request an appointment online today.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Who is at risk for sleep apnea?
There are some specific risk factors for developing sleep apnea. Being overweight or simply having a thick neck will make your airway smaller. Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea due to the inflamed tissues. Alcohol can also cause the muscles to relax. All of these factors will raise your risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
Are oral appliances for sleep apnea comfortable?
A sleep apnea oral appliance is very comfortable. It will be fabricated from dental impressions so it will fit seamlessly in your mouth. Additionally, they are a lot more comfortable than a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which will involve wearing a mask on your face while you sleep. The oral appliance may feel weird in your mouth at first, but most people get used to it after regular use.
How do I know if I am a candidate for a oral appliance?
You must schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine if you qualify for a sleep apnea oral appliance. This type of treatment is appropriate for someone who has been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Your doctor will also be able to help you determine if this type of treatment will be successful.