Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the muscles in the back of the throat collapse and interrupt breathing while a patient is sleeping. Because this condition affects the respiratory system, many patients visit a doctor for sleep apnea treatment. Your dentist can also help you manage this disorder. Dr. Joyce Kim, a dentist in Williamsport, PA, describes how a dentist can help you treat sleep apnea.
Do I have sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs while a patient is unconscious, so many individuals are not aware that this cessation of breathing occurs to them. Partners of sleep apnea patients may notice that they stop breathing intermittently through the night or report loud snoring. Some patients may feel groggy due to low quality of sleep. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may want to discuss the possibility of a sleep apnea diagnosis with a health professional.
How can I treat sleep apnea?
Your doctor may recommend using a CPAP machine at night to treat sleep apnea. This involves wearing a mask over your nose or mouth that forces air into your airway to make sure it remains open while you sleep. Some patients do not tolerate this treatment well, and they may find alternative options with their dentist. A dental professional can create a customized mouthguard that can be worn at night to help patients with sleep apnea. This oral appliance will reposition the jaw when it is worn overnight so that the throat muscles do not collapse while a patient is unconscious.
Are there risks with this treatment?
Sleep apnea can lead to major health problems for patients if left untreated. The repeated periods of breathing cessation create strain on the heart which can heighten the risk of circulatory systemic problems. Continued low-quality of sleep can be detrimental to mental functions too. If a patient is intolerant of a CPAP machine, these risks continue. A mouthguard created by a dentist is customized to a patient’s unique mouth to ensure a comfortable fit, which means a patient will be more likely to pursue treatment and therefore reduce these health risks. If a patient notices the oral appliance does not fit properly, they should let their dentist know as soon as possible to protect their dental health.
Sleep apnea treatment in Williamsport, PA
Loyalsock Dental Associates treats sleep apnea and other dental concerns in patients in Williamsport, PA. Dr. Kim specializes in restorative, cosmetic, and general dentistry for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or reach us by phone at 570.989.5271.