Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that has continued to increase at an alarming state which is why Dr. Avi Weisfogel was so interested in entering the field of dental sleep medicine. It is rampant not only in the United States but in other parts of the world. It is a sleep disorder that causes the muscle to relax and the airway to narrow during sleep. People with sleep apnea don’t notice it unless their sleep partners tell them. The indicator? The loud snoring that keeps your sleep partner awake.
People with moderate to severe sleep apnea experience snorting, choking and waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air. It feels like your eyes are closed but you are not resting. The lack of sound sleep causes you to feel fatigued and inability to concentrate. If this condition is not addressed, it could lead to serious health conditions which can be potentially fatal such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, and cardiac-related diseases.
What your dentist can do about it?
The traditional treatment approach for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy or continuous positive airway pressure. The patient needs to wear a mask that is connected to the CPAP machine to receive pressurized air, which will keep the airway open while you sleep. You need to see a sleep specialist to begin the treatment.
Don’t you know that your dentist can play an important role in the treatment and management of sleep apnea? There are now dentists specializing in sleep medicine. They are called dental sleep professionals. What they do is they create oral appliance, which will help patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Newer and most advanced oral appliances can help people with severe sleep apnea.
Oral appliances move the jawbone forward so as to widen the passageway of air. The oral appliance is custom-made for each patient. As you know, every patient has a distinct oral profile. So, if you are planning to buy a readily available oral appliance, then don’t. It could cause further harm than good. The right thing to do is to visit a dental sleep specialist and have a custom-fitted oral appliance.
Once you already have the oral appliance, you need to wear it every time you sleep. You have to use it as directed by the dental sleep specialist. Furthermore, you need to regularly visit your dentist to monitor the progress of the treatment and adjust the oral appliance accordingly. Today, there are many dentists specializing in sleep medicine. They feel the need to be a part of the solution to the growing problem of sleep apnea. However, you have to keep in mind that not all dentists are trained to treat sleep disorders. So, you have to do your research well so that you can find a highly reputable dental sleep professional.