How Can A Dentist Help You With Sleep Apnea?

Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea by your doctor? This condition affects as many as 30 million Americans, according to the American Medical Association. If you happen to be one of the many people living with this condition, you may never consider visiting your dentist for advice or treatment.

However, many dentists offer therapeutic treatments for sleep apnea, and some can be highly effective at supporting people who have negative symptoms they deal with when they try to sleep. Below is a closer look at how a dentist may be able to help if you have sleep apnea

A Dentist Can Help You Better Understand Sleep Apnea  

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects you while you sleep, but the mechanisms behind what is causing the symptoms you experience can be quite diverse. While a doctor can make a diagnosis of sleep apnea and help you understand the diagnosis, a dentist can offer even more in-depth expertise. As physicians that spend years studying the muscles, tissues, joints, and bones that make up the mouth and jaws, dentists have good insight to share. They often have an even deeper understanding of what is causing your problems with airway interruptions during sleep. 

A Dentist Can Recommend Oral Appliances That Can Help 

Several oral appliances have been approved for the treatment of sleep apnea. These appliances slip into your mouth before you go to bed to help prevent tissues that normally block your airway from getting in the way. There are two types of devices a dentist may recommend, including a mandibular repositioning appliance or a tongue retaining appliance. A mandibular repositioning appliance pulls your jaw into a more forward position to keep your airway open. A tongue retainer prevents the relaxing action of your tongue from blocking your airway. The dentist can determine which type of device could be most beneficial for you. 

A Dentist Can Determine If Oral Surgery Can Help 

In severe cases of sleep apnea, oral surgery may be a life-changing procedure that can help. In some cases, patients are good candidates for certain types of jaw surgery that permanently reposition the jaw to hold the airway open. These surgeries are often performed by oral surgeons or dentists that have the necessary qualifications to perform oral surgery for sleep apnea. Therefore, a visit to a dentist for sleep apnea treatment may mean you get access to a surgical procedure that can help.