Sleep Apnea and Snoring: How Your Dentist Can Help

There are millions of Americans who suffer from sleep disorders, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you’re one of these individuals, then you know that not being able to get a good night’s rest can take a serious toll on your daily life. However, what you may not know is that your dentist can help you improve some common sleep problems.

For example, sleep apnea is a common disorder that is growing in prevalence. If you have this condition, it means you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. When your breathing pauses, you may move out of deep sleep and into a lighter sleep, which can leave you feeling tired throughout the day.

Luckily, if you’re one of the estimated 18 million Americans who has this condition, your dentist can help. According to Sleep Apnea Dentists of New England, dental care professionals are uniquely qualified to treat this disorder.

Medication is often ineffective at treating sleep apnea, and the better solution is usually a mask that your dentist can provide. This treatment is called nasal continuous positive airway pressure, and it involves the patient wearing a mask over their nose as they sleep. Pressure from an air blower forces air through the nasal passages, preventing the throat from closing.

Of course, sleep apnea isn’t the only disorder out there that’s keeping people up at night. There is also good old fashioned snoring, which can be annoying to you and your partner. Dentistry has also developed several oral appliances that can help combat snoring. Many of these devices resemble a mouth guard or a retainer designed to reposition the lower jaw or tongue so that a person no longer snores.

A study published in the journal, Sleep and Breathing, found that treating snoring and sleep apnea can improve your bed partner’s depression, showing that taking care of these sleep disorders may not only improve your life, but your significant other’s as well.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine states that the best person to fit an individual with a “stop-snoring” device is a dentist. A dental health professional can take a mold of your mouth and create an appliance for you that is both comfortable and effective.

Do you suffer from sleep apnea or snoring problems? What helps you? Share with us in the comments below!

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