Learning Center

Sleep Apnea and Your Dentist - Your First Line of Defense

Sleep apnea is not something anyone should have to – nor want to – live with. It’s detrimental not only to your quality of sleep, but also to your good health. However, you probably didn’t know you could call your dentist and ask for help with your sleep apnea, but you absolutely can. Yes, that’s correct. You don’t need to see a specialist if you’re suffering from sleep apnea, and your dentist might be able to change your life for the better – possibly even eliminating the need for a CPAP machine!

What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is not pleasant, but it is a condition that affects millions of Americans. When you sleep, your body goes through cycles of sleep. The most important cycle of sleep is the deep REM sleep that allows your brain to re-charge, and it’s difficult to achieve that state if you suffer from sleep apnea. Essentially, you are being interrupted by a lack of breathing during the night. You are asleep, but your body stops breathing causing your sleep is interrupted. It’s a frequent and dangerous stop and start and can cause you to suffer from moderate sleep issues along with severe health issues, but you do have solutions available to you.

There are a few misconceptions surrounding sleep apnea.  It’s not just men who are carrying a bit too much weight who suffer from this issue. Yes, an increased body mass index is a problem, but one of the most common groups of people who suffer from sleep apnea are healthy women in their 40s. Awareness of this health condition is low, and many people go untreated and undiagnosed. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 10 million people suffer from sleep apnea and don’t know it.

Side Effects of Sleep Apnea

Now that you’re aware of what it is, let’s talk about why you need to seek help if you think you suffer from sleep apnea. Essentially, the side effects are dangerous. Not only do you not get enough sleep, your entire life is affected by it. Let’s talk about the importance of sleep. You need a certain amount of sleep each night to fully function during the day.

When you suffer from sleep apnea, your body does not get enough oxygen. Your body obviously needs oxygen to function properly, and this condition causes your body no to get it. When your body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs, it begins to make changes to compensate. The first is jaw shifting. This causes teeth grinding, which is not good for your dental health. Snoring is another side effect, though that’s a side effect that typically affects the person you love and sleep with each night more than it affects you.

When sleep apnea is undiagnosed and untreated, it causes additional problems like high blood pressure. Diabetes is a very common condition that comes along with sleep apnea. People who suffer from sleep apnea that goes untreated for a long period of time are often more likely to suffer from a stroke than others. Hopefully now you know why our denitsts take finding a treatment, and a solution, for this serous health problem is so important.

How Can My Dentist Help?

At Vestal Dental, we can do more than keep your teeth white and healthy and your smile picture perfect.  Our experienced dentists can help diagnose and treat your sleep apnea. For one, we can diagnose your condition properly  based on simple health issues you’re experiencing and may be suffering with. When our patients tell us that they have issues snoring and grinding their teeth, we know that these are the telltale signs of sleep apnea, and we can work with them towards a solution. We have cutting edge, in-office treatments to help you get your sleeping habits, and your health, back on track.

Pulse Oximeter Screening

The first thing we do when finding you have symptoms of sleep apnea is send you home with a pulse oximeter screening test to use. The purpose of this simple test is to take note of your oxygen levels at night while you’re asleep. The information we get from this machine allows us to see if there are signs of sleep apnea outside of grinding and snoring. If, for example, your levels are normal, we simply work with you to create a custom oral piece to wear at night to prevent you from grinding your teeth. If you also snore, there is an appliance we can integrate into your sleep routine that not only helps prevent you from grinding your teeth, but also moves your jaw forward at night to prevent you from snoring.

When abnormal oxygen levels are present, we take more advanced measures to ensure your health and safety. Sleep studies are often paramount to diagnosing sleep apnea. We have access to sleep diagnosis tests that can be performed at-home.  This at-home sleep study allows us to go a little deeper into your issue to see what we are working with in terms of severity. The good news is that mild-moderate sleep apnea is easily treatable in our offices. We work with our patients to create a custom oral piece that helps stop this issue – and the side effects of sleep apnea – from occurring. This is a non-invasive treatment.

If your abnormal results are severe, we will immediately refer you to a sleep specialist.  We have a great track record of handling certain types of sleep apnea in our offices with outstanding success, but we also recognize that some severe cases may need a specialist.

Call Today to Schedule an Appointment to Diagnose Your Sleep Apnea

Call Vestal Dental Associates today to schedule your appointment. Our experienced sleep apnea dentists are your best first step to handling snoring and grinding, and we also have the knowledge and experience to diagnose more severe cases. Rest assured that our team of dental professionals know precisely how to handle your situation. Trust that our team can help you find better sleep, a better quality of life, and a much more healthy pattern of sleeping. You’ll be less tired, less groggy, and you will feel much better each and every day when this common condition is diagnosed and a treatment plan put into place.