Suspect you might have obstructive sleep apnea? We at Stephen Ratcliff Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Arlington TX encourage you to schedule an examination with your doctor ASAP. If left untreated, it can become life-threatening.
Does your bed partner tell you that you frequently stop breathing during the night? What if you sleep alone? Here are some signs that you may have sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring
- Abrupt awakenings
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Frequently being tired during the day
- Waking with a dry mouth
- Headaches, especially right after waking
- Difficulty concentrating
Recurring cessations in breathing during sleep starves the brain of oxygen. When the brain is not getting enough oxygen, the heart slows down. When the person resumes breathing, the heart goes into panic mode to push the oxygen to the brain. Then the cycle repeats itself many times an hour each and every night. This stop-and-start action is dangerous for every organ in the body.
CPAP (Positive Airway Pressure) may be the most well-known treatment for sleep apnea. Many people don’t know that there are other ways to treat it.
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) conducted by a dentist can be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved OAT in the following circumstances:
- As a first-line treatment for people with mild to moderate OSA
- As a first-line treatment for individuals with severe OSA who are unable to use CPAP devices
- As a combination therapy (using CPAP and an oral appliance together) https://www.sleepapnea.org/treat/sleep-apnea-treatment-options/
A custom-fit oral appliance allows patients to breath normally during sleep. A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea must be made by an MD. If the physician recommends oral appliance therapy, he or she will refer the patient to a dentist who is trained in treating sleep disorders.
The advantages of an oral appliance over a CPAP machine include:
- More convenient
- More comfortable
- Requires no electricity
- Easy to clean
- May allow wearer to talk and eat during use
If you have been suffering from untreated obstructive sleep apnea, OAT can restore your health. Our team encourages you to see an MD soon before your health is compromised. If you have already received a diagnosis of OSA and would like information about OAT, set up a consultation at Stephen Ratcliff Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Arlington TX. We serve patients from Mansfield and Grand Prairie and also perform cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry. Schedule an appointment today.