Sleep Dentistry Without CPAP
It is estimated that at least 15 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, many without even realizing it! If you, or your sleeping partner, snore excessively, or wake during the night with difficulty catching a breath, then you’re probably experiencing a form of sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition which is caused when the air passage at the back of a person’s throat becomes blocked as they try to sleep. This happens as the person’s muscles relax in sleep, causing the soft palate to relax as well. It slips back, and the airway narrows. In some cases, it may even close completely.
A mild case of sleep apnea will likely only manifest itself as excessive snoring, the type of snoring that disturbs everyone around the sleeper. As the sleeper drifts in to deeper sleep their airway often becomes tighter, and may cause the sleeper to almost wake up – but not quite, just enough to cause their throat muscles to re-form an airway. This causes the sleeper to have a fitful, restless night, and possibly not even realize they are sleeping poorly.
In more severe cases, the airway closes entirely which causes the sleeper to fully wake up gasping for air. They may even have sensations of tightness in their chest or other feelings of being choked. Severe sleep apnea sufferers, and often their sleeping partners, have a difficult time achieving a decent night of rest.
If you do have sleep apnea, Reveal Dental in Cedar Park may be able to help.
Treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP
It is a common misconception that there are few ways of managing sleep apnea which don’t require surgery. Actually, the most common treatment prescribed by most sleep specialists is the nightly use of a CPAP machine.
A Consistent Positive Airway Pressure machine is a device which constantly pushes air into a sleeper’s throat by means of a facial mask attached to a small air compressor. This is considered the most effective method of treating sleep apnea, but it does come with its own set of challenges. Many people have difficulty sleeping in a mask that totally covers their nose and mouth, plus their movement while in bed can be greatly limited. CPAPs are especially difficult for stomach-sleepers. However, for those with serious sleep apnea, CPAP machines may be the only viable alternative to surgery.
Alternative treatments for Sleep Apnea
For those whose apnea is less severe, Cedar Park family dentist at Reveal Dental may have a much more comfortable solution!
Because the conditions surrounding sleep apnea occur in the mouth, dentists are often able to assist with the use of custom oral sleep appliances. These help keep the airway open or prevent the tongue from slipping backwards. Often, all it takes is a custom piece of plastic or silicone to help a patient get a good night’s sleep!
At Reveal Dental, we most often treat snoring and sleeping disorders with Mandibular Advancement Splints:
Mandibular Advancement Splints
If the problem is with both the soft palate and the tongue, the dentist can create a pair of appliances that comfortably protrude the lower jaw forward. This helps improve sleep by helping to hold the throat open.
In short, if you have sleep apnea, our Cedar Park family dentist has plenty of treatment options. Make an appointment at Reveal Dental to learn more!
If you think you have sleep apnea, contact Reveal Dental for a checkup and consultation!
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