You may wonder if dentistry really can treat your sleep apnea. Yes, it can.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start many times while you’re sleeping. This common condition affects about 22 million Americans.
At K Street Dental & Orthodontic Group in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Washington, DC, we’re a team of dentists specializing in sleep apnea and other dental issues. If you have a bed partner, you can ease their mind — and their sleep — when you receive effective treatment.
Causes of sleep apnea
Many factors can cause sleep apnea, including:
- Being overweight
- Having a thick neck
- Being older
- Having nasal congestion
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Having a narrowed airway
- Using alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers
- Having congestion
Medical conditions, like hypertension, congestive heart failure, Type 2 diabetes, hormonal disorders, and Parkinson’s disease can put you at risk for sleep apnea.
Different types of sleep apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
This type occurs when your tongue falls against your soft palate and then your soft palate falls against the back of your throat while you’re sleeping. This closes your airway and blocks your breathing.
When you have this type of sleep apnea, your airways are open, but your brain doesn’t tell your muscles to keep breathing for a short period of time, which can cause shortness of breath.
When you have complex sleep apnea, your brain fails to wake you up to breathe during apneic episodes. This can occur hundreds of times in a night, which fragments your sleep and leaves you very tired the next day.
Our team can treat all three types of sleep apnea, whether mild or severe.
Symptoms of sleep apnea
If you have sleep apnea, you can recognize some symptoms on your own. Your bed partner may notice other symptoms as you sleep.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Episodes during which you stop breathing
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for air while sleeping
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Inability to stay asleep
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Lack of focus while awake
Take all symptoms seriously to avoid putting yourself at risk for complications.
Treatment for sleep apnea
First, we examine your mouth and throat for signs of sleep apnea. We check to see if your teeth appear worn down from grinding. We also look to see if you have an irritated throat.
If we diagnose sleep apnea, we treat you with a mandibular advancement device, which diminishes the air restriction in the back of your throat. It moves your jaw and tongue forward, allowing the size of your upper airway to increase. This reduces the air resistance that causes snoring. The mouthguard also reduces bruxism.
To make your device, we take a mold of your teeth and create a custom appliance that fits comfortably in your mouth. You won’t even notice it while you’re sleeping, and you can feel fresh and rested when you wake up.
To learn more about how we can treat your sleep apnea, contact our team for an appointment at the location nearest you.