Obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition in which the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses and blocks the individual’s airway for brief periods during sleep. Though the issue does not pose an acute threat to a patient’s life, the continued interruptions of breathing may create medical problems.
Your general practitioner can help you resolve sleep apnea concerns, but your dentist can also provide treatment for this issue. If you are worried about sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with your dentist to see how they can alleviate these concerns. Dr. Kim Westermann, a dentist located in Louisville, KY, describes how your dental professional can help you treat your sleep apnea symptoms.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Because sleep apnea manifests while a patient is unconscious, many people do not realize that they have this condition. If they have a partner, they may report loud snoring or brief moments where the patient stops breathing in the night.
However, some sleep apnea patients might experience gasping awake or the feeling of grogginess in the daytime. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may want to consider contacting your general practitioner or dental professional for an evaluation. Prompt treatment of this disorder can prevent very serious medical issues.
How Will My Dentist Treat My Sleep Apnea?
Your general practitioner may recommend the use of a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea. This device features a mask worn over the nose or mouth that forces air into a patient’s airway during sleep to prevent blockages.
Not every patient will find this treatment tolerable because the device can be noisy and uncomfortable. Patients with mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea can find alternative treatment from their dental professional.
Your dentist can provide you with a custom-made oral appliance, a mouthguard-like device that you wear as you sleep that will keep the jaw in a position so that the airway remains open. With easier breathing during the night, you can sleep more comfortably and with a lessened risk of serious health issues related to sleep apnea.
Are There Risks with This Therapy?
Wearing an oral appliance to sleep does not come with health risks. The appliance is designed to fit your unique smile, so you do not have to worry about the device slipping out of place during sleep.
Medical risks arise from non-compliance with sleep apnea treatment. You should wear your oral appliance as directed to prevent the health concerns that may develop from untreated sleep apnea. The constant disruption to breathing and sleep patterns of sleep apnea may lead to cardiovascular concerns and cognitive issues.
Find Sleep Apnea Therapy with Your Louisville, KY Dentist
Westermann Family Dentistry offers sleep apnea therapy and other general dental treatments for patients in Louisville, KY. Dr. Westermann also specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, including tooth replacement solutions, for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with our practice, reach our office by phone at 502.219.3168 or contact our staff online.