Sleep apnea is a serious condition that should be addressed by a medical professional. While a doctor can help diagnose your type of sleep apnea and offer treatment, some patients may also require dental care to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Dental treatment can be especially helpful for patients with mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Reston cosmetic dentist Wayne Myles has experience in sleep apnea dental treatments.
Sleep apnea is a condition that prevents patients from getting a relaxing, full night’s worth of sleep. In patients with sleep apnea, breathing is temporarily interrupted, frequently throughout the night. These brief episodes interrupt your natural sleep rhythm and prevent you from reaching the state of deep sleep that the body requires. It is difficult to determine if you have sleep apnea because these episodes occur while you are sleeping.
However, if you are often tired or irritable and are a sleeper who snores, chokes, or gasps during the night, you may be experiencing sleep apnea. Keeping a log of your sleeping habits or recording yourself while you sleep can be helpful in determining if you suffer from sleep apnea. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should see your doctor immediately.
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing is interrupted due to a blockage of the airways. Your doctor may recommend breathing machines that can be worn during the night. This is beneficial for many patients, but for some, dental treatments are a better option. Even patients who have success with typical sleep apnea treatments may also benefit from dental treatments for sleep apnea.
If your jaw or bite is misaligned, it can lead to the blocked airway that may cause sleep apnea. Dental treatments can help open the airways and may alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. The two most common dental treatments for sleep apnea are,
- Dental mouth guards:Some patients can’t adjust to the large masks that are typically worn with sleep apnea breathing machines. Dental mouth guards are smaller and more comfortable, which make it easier for many patients to sleep with these devices. Mouth guards can keep your jaw aligned while you sleep, thus preventing airway obstruction. Dr. Myles can have a mouth guard custom made to ensure a close and comfortable fit while you sleep.
- Restorative dental care: Damaged or missing teeth are another cause of a misaligned jaw. If your teeth are damaged, misaligned, or missing, your teeth will not line up properly. This will throw off your entire bite and may cause your airway to be blocked. For Dr. Myles patients in Reston, dental crowns, inlays or onlays, and dental implants are some of the treatments that can be used to repair damaged teeth and get your bite properly aligned.
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT
If you’d like to learn more about the connection between sleep apnea and dental care, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wayne Myles. Dr. Myles is happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss dental treatments to alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.