Do you suffer from constant fatigue during the day? Does your sleep partner complain of chronic snoring? These issues can both be caused by untreated sleep apnea. Consider visiting your dentist to chat about your sleep quality. Your dentist can do an evaluation and recommend appropriate treatment options if you do have sleep apnea.
Do all sleep apnea patients have to use a CPAP?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the standard therapy for sleep apnea. It consists of a mask connected to a machine. Patients wear the mask at night and the machine regulates the air pressure to keep the airway open. Patients with severe sleep apnea do need to use a CPAP, and some patients with moderate sleep apnea may need it as well. But if you have mild sleep apnea, there may be another option for you—oral appliance therapy.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Ask your dentist about oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. Your dentist can fit you with a special oral appliance that you’ll wear inside your mouth during sleep. It’s small, lightweight, and comfortable, and many people strongly prefer it compared to treatment with a CPAP machine. The oral appliance works by gently repositioning your lower jaw. This prevents the soft tissues from blocking the airway.
Will I need to wear it every night?
Yes. In order to keep your sleep apnea symptoms under control, you do need to wear the oral appliance every night. This includes when you travel. Fortunately, it’s far easier to travel with an oral appliance than with a bulky CPAP machine.
What else can I do to take care of myself?
In addition to wearing your oral appliance every night, you can identify your risk factors for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is commonly linked to obesity and alcohol intake. If either of these applies to you, consider losing weight or abstaining from alcohol.
At the dentistry office of John Carson, DDS, you can receive a thorough sleep apnea evaluation and an effective treatment plan. Residents in the Tucson area can call (520) 514-7203 to request an exam.