Sleep apnea is a common disorder that keeps millions of people from getting the rest they deserve. This condition occurs when your throat and jaw muscles relax to the point that your airway becomes partially or completely blocked, causing interrupted sleep due to difficulty breathing. If you’re affected by this condition, it may come as a surprise to hear that you should visit your dentist. However, dentists care for so much more than just your smile. Read on to learn why seeing an expert sleep apnea doctor simply means heading to your dentist’s office!
But First, How Do You Know if You Have Sleep Apnea?
It’s estimated that around 80% of sleep apnea cases go untreated because they aren’t recognized. While this condition is tough to spot on your own, you and your sleep partner can be on the lookout for these common warning signs:
- Waking up gasping for breath
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Daytime drowsiness
- Difficulty focusing
- Mood swings
Why See the Dentist for Sleep Apnea Treatment?
You may think your dentist can only help your teeth, however they are more qualified to treat your sleep apnea than the average doctor. This is because dentists have extensive knowledge when it comes to the health of your mouth and throat—exactly where sleep apnea occurs. Dentists better understand the relationship between your mouth and airway, which is why they are in a special position to help patients enjoy healthy smiles AND amazing sleep.
How Your Dentist Treats Sleep Apnea
A certified sleep dentist will give you the gift of an amazing night’s rest. The best part is that you can achieve this without the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. In the past, the CPAP machine was the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment. However, it comes with its own problems—it’s bulky, inconvenient, and sometimes uncomfortable, eventually leading to patients giving up on their treatment altogether.
Instead, your dentist provides custom-made oral appliances to treat sleep apnea. Your dentist will take precise impressions of your smile, which are then used to create your oral device. This personalized oral appliance is worn at night, positioning your jaw and/or tongue so that it doesn’t block your airway. The result is an unobstructed airway for easy breathing and better sleeping.
Are you ready to start looking forward to a good night’s sleep? Contact your dentist to take your first step toward uninterrupted shuteye and productive days!
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Dustin C. Lively is a certified sleep dentist who puts his patients first. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, he went on to complete various continuing education courses in sleep apnea therapy to provide a variety of sleep services. If you have any questions, he can be reached through his website or by phone at (580) 782-2027.