Sleep Apnea Treatment
Do you wake up feeling tired and unrested? Sleep apnea might the cause. Our experienced and knowledgeable team at Barounis Dental may be able to help identify the source of your restless nights so you can get a better night’s sleep.
Current research shows there is a close connection between many health conditions and diseases and your oral health. Your mouth can give us clues to what is happening in many other systems in your body, including your respiratory system, nervous system, and digestive system.
At Barounis Dental, our knowledge of sleep dentistry lets us help diagnose and treat our patient’s sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.
Starting at your routine dental hygiene appointments, your dentist or dental hygienist at Barounis Dental will ask you about other areas of health, including sleep and diet. Assessing any health issues, even if you think they are unrelated to your oral health, help us to ensure you receive the best possible care.
We look for signs of troubled sleep like teeth grinding, or bruxism, and snoring which are often early signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious, but treatable, health condition when caught early. Often dentists are the first medical professionals to recognize the signs of sleep apnea in patients.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated breathing interruptions while a person is sleeping. People with sleep apnea tend to be noisy sleepers, often snoring, gasping, and grunting while they sleep.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, where your throat muscles relax intermittently and block your airway while sleeping. Less common is central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to severe health problems. People with sleep apnea are often sleep-deprived, which in turn causes physiological symptoms like poor concentration and chronic fatigue.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to other health issues like:
- Heart attacks
- Type 2 diabetes
- Atrial fibrillation
- Mood disorders
- Liver problems
- Metabolic syndrome
At Barounis Dental, we know that a good night’s sleep is essential to your overall health. The disturbed sleep caused by sleep apnea can lead to otherwise preventable health problems.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Loud or excessive snoring is often the most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea, but you may not even know that you are snoring because you are asleep. Aside from snoring, there are several other indicators of sleep apnea. Other common symptoms include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Sleep restlessness
- Waking suddenly with a feeling of choking
- Night sweats
Children with sleep apnea may show different symptoms including poor school performance, unusual sleeping positions, daytime mouth breathing, bedwetting, and difficulty swallowing.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Dentists are often the first to detect sleep apnea during routine oral health appointments. Your dentist at Barounis Dental reviews your health history at each visit and performs a full examination of your throat, neck, and jaw area.
We also look for signs of tooth grinding, or bruxism, as many people with sleep apnea grind or clench their teeth at night. Nightly grinding of your teeth can wear them down, making them more vulnerable to cavities, and contributes to other health issues like gum disease.
Other signs of sleep apnea that we look for are an enlarged or scalloped tongue, a red or sore throat, and a narrowed airway.
If we suspect you may have sleep apnea, we may refer you to a specialist, like an ENT, for further evaluation. One of these evaluations might involve a sleep study. Barounis Dental will work with you and your doctors to come up with the most effective treatment plan for your sleep apnea.
What Barounis Dental Can Do to Help Treat Your Sleep Apnea
To help address your sleep apnea, our dentists at Barounis Dental may recommend various types of oral appliance therapies, or OAT, such as mouth guards, mandibular advancement devices, or tongue retaining mouthpieces.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
One common type of OAT is a mandibular advancement device. Mandibular advancement devices move the jaw and tongue forward, clearing the passageway to the throat to reduce obstruction and prevent sleep apnea.
Designed for you and fitted by our dentists, mandibular advancement devices are worn while sleeping. These devices are molded to exactly fit your mouth for stability while you sleep.
Tongue Retaining Devices
Another type of OAT is a tongue retaining device, also called tongue stabilizing devices or TRD. A TRD repositions the tongue, reducing the tongue obstruction which can cause sleep apnea. A TRD is often a better choice if you wear dentures as the device does not interfere with jaw placement.
A continuous positive airway pressure machine, commonly known as a CPAP machine, is a commonly used treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine uses a hose connected to a mask or nose piece to deliver constant, steady air pressure to help you breathe as you sleep.
CPAP machines are prescribed by medical doctors. If the Barounis Dental team thinks a CPAP machine may help your sleep apnea, we can refer you to a medical professional to ensure you get a high-quality CPAP machine that is right for you.
Sleep apnea can be a serious condition with debilitating consequences. If we see signs you may have sleep apnea, our team with work with you and your medical care provider to devise a comprehensive treatment plan that meets your individual needs. Whether your sleep apnea can be controlled by oral appliance therapy, or you need a CPAP machine, we can help you get on track for a better night’s sleep.
If you think that sleep apnea may be the cause of your sleeping troubles, we are here to help. To learn more about what we can do for you, schedule an appointment with Barounis Dental in Foxborough, MA, today!