Sleep Apnea FAQs and How a Dentist Can Help

Categories: Sleep Apnea

sherman oaks dentistry dr perlazaIn recent years, the dental industry has taken an active role in the treatment of OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  In fact, many sleep apnea sufferers today have chosen to use oral appliances as an alternative to CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).  For those individuals who are afflicted with OSA, the following FAQ’s may answer any questions you are having regarding this condition and the treatment of it.

Does the dentist diagnose and treat my sleep apnea?

In many cases, a dentist will work in conjunction with a sleep apnea specialist to help treat the patient. By working together, the physician and sleep apnea specialist can evaluate the seriousness of the patient’s condition in order to determine the treatment modality that will provide them with the best quality of life.

How does sleep apnea affect people?

Over 20 million Americans suffer with sleep apnea today.  This condition can lead to more serious issues such as depression, fatigue and sleepiness during the day, heart attack, hypertension, muscle pain, and stroke.  In fact, if you suffer with sleep apnea, you have a 23% greater chance of having a heart attack than someone who doesn’t.

What are some of the more common symptoms of OSA?

The most common symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include:

  • > chronic, loud snoring
  • > excessive daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • > impotence
  • > inability to concentrate
  • > intermittent breathing stoppages when sleeping
  • > irritability
  • > memory loss
  • > moodiness
  • > poor sleeping habits
  • > restlessness

While benign snoring can easily be treated with an oral appliance from the dentist, the more severe symptoms will require consultation with your dentist and a sleep apnea specialist in Los Angeles.

What should I do if I have a CPAP but can’t wear it?

If your physician recently diagnosed with sleep apnea and you were prescribed a CPAP device but cannot wear it, you’re probably a good candidate for an oral appliance.  Oral appliance therapy is oftentimes prescribed for patients who’ve been diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea and snoring.  For individuals suffering with hypopnea or severe sleep apnea, a co-therapy may be prescribed in order to decrease the CPAP device’s air pressure so that it is easier to sleep when wearing it.

Why do some dentists treat sleep apnea?

Provided they have met the educational requirements, a dentist successfully treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.  This is a device that repositions the jaw in order to keep your airway open and prevent chronic snoring. This helps to lower the snores and helps you sleep better.

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are searching for an alternative to CPAP therapy, an oral appliance may be your best option for solving your sleeping and snoring problems.  Be sure to consult with your dentist to ensure that you will be a good candidate for an oral appliance. They might run a few tests to ensure that the treatment or the device suits you and helps you sleep deeply and better.