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Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a condition in which someone periodically stops breathing in their sleep. This can cause extreme fatigue, snoring, stress on the heart and lungs, and put you at an increased risk for other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes.

There are two different kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a relaxation of the throat muscles, while central sleep apnea is when your brain fails to send signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is the result of muscles in the airway and throat that relax, causing you to stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time. As a result, your brain is deprived of oxygen, which can cause you to continually awaken throughout the night, even if you do not remember it. Sleep apnea sufferers often feel constantly tired and struggle to feel well-rested.

There are many potential underlying causes of sleep apnea, including:

  • Excess weight

  • Having a narrow throat

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Deviated septum

  • Smoking

  • Alcohol and drug use

  • Enlarged tonsils

  • Large tongue

How Can My Dentist Help With Sleep Apnea?

Your dentist can notice the early warning signs of sleep apnea by performing oral exams and taking x-rays of your mouth. They can give you a referral to an ENT or sleep physician where this can be further investigated or a sleep study may be conducted.

Your dentist can address your sleep apnea with dental devices such as CPAP machines, oral appliances, tongue retaining devices, and a mandibular advancement device (MAD).

Am I a Candidate for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Devices?

Before determining if you are a suitable candidate for a sleep apnea oral device, you need to find out if you have sleep apnea and what the severity is. Oral devices will only work for mild to moderate sleep apnea severity. 

If you have severe sleep apnea, then a CPAP machine is still the highest standard of treatment. However, sleep apnea sufferers with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) lower than 15 are not eligible for CPAP machines unless they have other symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension.

At Goldstein Garber & Salama, we can examine your mouth for early warning signs of sleep apnea and treat you with oral devices. Schedule an appointment with us today.