Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that interferes with healthy breathing patterns during sleep. It is characterized by snoring, which may be so loud that it affects the sleep quality of bed partners. Having sleep apnea can put a strain on relationships, cause daytime fatigue, and even lead to other secondary conditions like depression. Worse, severe cases of sleep apnea can be life threatening.
Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea, Too
Did you know that Dr. Gentry is trained to help treat and manage your snoring and sleep apnea? Dental sleep medicine is an area of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Dr. Gentry works together with sleep physicians to identify the best treatment for each patient. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is a professional society for dentists who help patients control snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy.
If you have trouble tolerating continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or prefer an alternate treatment for sleep apnea, talk to Dr. Gentry. Oral appliance therapy can help you and your bedpartner get a good night’s sleep, and it will improve your health and quality of life.
Your Health and Quality of Life
The quality of your sleep has a dramatic impact on your health, well-being and overall quality of life. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea disrupt your sleep and increase your risk of severe health problems. Remember that snoring is a warning sign that should never be ignored. Across the country, many dentists are prepared to provide oral appliance therapy to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor and dentist about your treatment options.
Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring is a common warning sign for obstructive sleep apnea. Prior to treatment, you should be diagnosed by a board-certified sleep medicine physician. If you have snoring without sleep apnea, your doctor should give you a prescription for an oral sleep appliance. If you have sleep apnea, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The CPAP machine keeps your airway open by providing forced air through flexible tubing. CPAP therapy requires you to wear a mask as you sleep. Although CPAP therapy is effective, some people are unable to adhere to it. Your doctor should consider giving you a prescription for a sleep apnea appliance if you are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy or prefer an alternate treatment. Many people like an oral appliance because it is comfortable, quiet, portable and easy to wear. In some severe cases of sleep apnea, upper airway surgery may be another treatment option.
Introduction to Oral Appliance Therapy
Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in adults. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. It fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment that prevents the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position.
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring. Provided by a dentist, oral appliance therapy uses a custom-fit, “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep. Oral appliance therapy helps maintain an open, unobstructed airway.