How Your Dentist Can Help Your Obstructive Sleep A

How Your Dentist Can Help Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, you may be aware of the inconvenient symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness, snoring, and waking up with a sore throat.  However, if left untreated sleep apnea can also increase your risk of developing serious health issues, including: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, driving and work-related accidents.   Sleep apnea treatment is vital to reducing these risks.


There are several treatment options available for obstructive sleep apnea, including:


Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea is increasing in popularity.  These appliances are worn during sleep, and fit similar to a sports mouth guard, or orthodontic appliance.  They hold the jaw forward, which keeps the airway open and prevents the tongue muscles from blocking the airway.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Devices

A CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or the mouth.  It blows air into the airway during sleep to prevent the sleeper’s airway from collapsing.  Although CPAP is a reliable way to treat sleep apnea, some patients find it uncomfortable or irritating.



With the exception of people with certain jaw structure problems, surgery is only an option after other sleep apnea treatments have failed.  Sleep apnea surgery enlarges the airway through your nose or throat that can cause your snoring or blocked airway.


Over-the-counter Devices

Over-the-counter sleep apnea appliances exist, however these devices are not FDA approved for sleep apnea and should not be used.  If the device is not fitted properly, it can cause jaw problems, tooth movements, or even worsen your sleep apnea.  Your sleep apnea appliance should always be fitted by a specially trained dentist. 


If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is very important that you discuss your treatment options with your dentist. 


Family SmileCare Center, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, offers oral appliance therapy services for patients who have been diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea.  We work closely with your physician to help treat this very serious health issue.  For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Family SmileCare Center.

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