Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition that disrupts normal breathing during the night. Patients with sleep apnea often snore loudly and struggle to get restful sleep. It may not sound quite so bad at first, but sleep apnea can easily cause chronic fatigue that may lead the affected person to fall asleep without warning. As you can probably imagine, that’s incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to address the condition as quickly as possible. But can a dentist treat sleep apnea?
Can a Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Diagnosing sleep apnea is fairly straightforward. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, past medical history, and all of the typical stuff. From there, you may be asked to record your sleep using a special app, and you may be asked to come in for a sleep study. This will depend on your doctor and their preferred diagnostic tools. Fortunately, the signs of sleep apnea are relatively easy to spot when you’re under observation, which generally leads to a quick diagnosis.
Treating Sleep Apnea with CPAP
Once you have been officially diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will have some choices to make. Currently, the most common method of treatment uses a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive air pressure, and the machine continuously applies positive air pressure to your upper respiratory system to keep it open for normal breathing while you sleep. Unfortunately, CPAP machines do have some downsides.
CPAP machines are often bulky, loud, and require you to wear a specialized mask throughout the night. These factors can make it difficult to sleep with your partner who may struggle with the extra noise. You may also have minor issues with skin irritation and abrasions as a result of the prolonged mask usage, especially if your skin is sensitive or prone to allergies. Thanks to these understandable downsides, it isn’t uncommon for sleep apnea patients to consider alternative treatments.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Alternative Treatments
Your sleep doctor is a great resource for general sleep apnea treatments. But it may surprise you that you see another great resource about once every six months. If your dentist in Los Angeles is trained in dental sleep medicine, they can offer a wider range of treatments that don’t necessarily rely on a CPAP machine for results. These alternative options may include specialized oral appliances, positional therapy, or surgery to correct structural issues contributing to your sleep apnea.
For many patients, oral appliances are the quickest and easiest way to provide lasting results. You may not be ready to roll over and give your sweetheart a peck on the cheek right away, but you won’t be keeping you or your partner up all night with a noisy machine. During your first few weeks of use, you will want to keep track of any symptoms you’ve had. Check with your partner to see if you have been snoring or use a sleep app that records sound in the night. When you wake up in the morning, note if you feel rested. It may sound trivial, but tracking the quality of your sleep is the best way to see if your oral device is working as it should.
Considering Alternative Alternatives
For many patients, an oral appliance works well. However, it isn’t the right tool for everyone. If you’re still struggling with sleep apnea in Beverly Hills, then talk to your specialist at the Bedford Dental Group. Together you can explore other alternative treatments that offer more permanent results based on your specific case. With a little patience and a lot of positivity, your dentist can help to open a whole new world of uninterrupted, satisfying sleep.