Our dentists in Vancouver discuss how dentists can assist you in getting a sleep apnea diagnosis and resolving your concerns in this post.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder characterized by shallow breaths and breathing pauses while sleeping. These breathing pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and can occur up to 30 times (or more) per night. Normal breathing resumes after each pause, usually with a choking sound or a loud snort.
As you might expect, breathing issues can disrupt your sleep and lead to several complications that can harm your overall health, such as an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. It raises the chances of developing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and being involved in a car or workplace accident.
Why does sleep apnea often go undiagnosed?
Sleep apnea is frequently misdiagnosed because it cannot be detected by a blood test or during a routine checkup. We recommend scheduling a consultation with our team if your family or bed partner has mentioned that you snore loudly or stop breathing while sleeping. Based on our assessment of your patient's sleep apnea symptoms, we can advise you on the next steps.
How can my dentist help treat my sleep apnea?
If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your dentist can recommend a variety of sleep apnea treatments based on your specific needs and whether you have mild or severe sleep apnea.
Mild Sleep Apnea
Simple, non-invasive treatments for moderate or mild sleep apnea, such as oral appliances or weight loss management, are frequently used (since being overweight is sometimes a primary cause of sleep apnea).
Our dental team can help you lose weight, which can be used in conjunction with other treatment options to help you get rid of your sleep apnea symptoms.
Severe sleep Apnea
Patients with severe sleep apnea are usually advised by their dentists to use CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure because it uses air pressure to keep the airway open while you sleep.
Inspire therapy is also a treatment option for patients who are unable or unwilling to consistently benefit from CPAP. While you sleep, Inspire monitors your breathing and sends mild stimulation to the nerve that controls the movement of your tongue and other muscles in your airway to keep the airway open.