If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you likely use continuous positive airway therapy (CPAP) treatment while you are sleeping. This treatment uses a mild air pressure to keep your airways open so you can breathe better. If CPAP is not working well for you, a dentist can help with this problem. If you also snore at night along with this problem, the dentist can help you with both problems. Below is some information about this so you can decide if it is something you may want to do.
Dental Sleep Medicine
You can see a dentist that is skilled in dental sleep medicine to help treat your obstructive sleep apnea. The dentist will also work with sleep physicians to help determine the best treatment plan for you. Ask your dentist if they are qualified to do this. If not, they can likely refer you to another dentist who is.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A dentist that focuses in dental sleep medicine will use an oral appliance to treat your obstructive sleep apnea instead of a CPAP machine. This is a device that you wear in your mouth while you are sleeping. This device fits much like an orthodontic retainer. The dentist will custom fit this device for you so that it fits into your mouth perfectly. This will ensure it is comfortable for you and will not disrupt your sleep. The device supports your jaw and pushes your jaw forward to prevent your airway from collapsing while you are sleeping.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Many people that have sleep apnea also snore, and sometimes they will snore before they start having symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. If you are a loud snorer, you may choose to go to your doctor for treatment. The doctor will evaluate you and likely ask you to wear a CPAP machine at night for your treatment. Instead of this, however, you can see a dentist skilled in dental sleep medicine for a snoring problem as well. The oral appliance used to treat obstructive sleep apnea can also be used to treat snoring. It only takes a few minutes to insert into your mouth, and you will not have to hear the loud sound of the CPAP machine running at night.
Make sure you take time to see your doctor if you have sleep apnea, as it can damage your heart over a period of time.