If you struggle with chronic fatigue, disrupted sleep, and loud snoring, there is a good chance that you have sleep apnea. Though the condition is quite common, many people go undiagnosed. Many more don’t realize that a general dentist is one of the most qualified experts to treat sleep apnea and snoring.
At Chisholm Trail Smile Center, Dr. Matthew Bridges is a skilled Duncan, OK, general dentist, who has been named a Qualified Dentist by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is also a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and takes ongoing education in this important field.
But how exactly can a dentist treat a sleep disorder? Read on to learn more. Then contact our office to schedule an appointment and find out how you can enjoy relief from your symptoms.
How can a general dentist treat sleep apnea?
The connection between dentistry and a sleep disorder is not immediately apparent. In fact, there are two forms of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea is uncommon, affecting an estimated 0.9% of Americans. It is often related to other health conditions and may require the care of a neurological expert or other physician.
On the other hand, obstructive sleep apnea is often caused by improper jaw position. As the facial muscles relax during sleep, soft tissues can droop into the throat, blocking normal breathing. A dentist can easily treat OSA with a small oral appliance. The device realigns the jaw to keep the airways open. Because these appliances are similar to retainers, dentists are uniquely suited to provide this treatment.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea often causes the following symptoms:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Dry mouth
- Waking up with gasps for air
I snore. Does that mean I have sleep apnea?
Not necessarily. 94% of OSA patients report chronic snoring. However, up to 60% of the general population snores, and only an estimated 7% of these suffer from sleep apnea. If you snore, you should schedule a consultation with a general dentist, but don’t assume that you have OSA.
What happens if I don’t seek treatment?
The reason it is so important to schedule a consultation, even if you only suspect sleep apnea, is that the condition can have a major impact on your overall health and quality of life. First, it can cause excessive fatigue, which can affect your mood, your performance at work, and your personal relationships. Plus, drivers with sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
On top of that, sleep apnea can increase your risk for serious health complications, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Atrial fibrillation
- Metabolic syndrome
- Abnormal liver function
- Complications with healing following surgery
A simple oral appliance provided by your general dentist in Duncan, OK, can quickly improve the quality of your sleep and reduce your risk for these life-threatening conditions.
Schedule an Appointment with Your General Dentist in Duncan, OK
Treatment for OSA is fast and simple, yet highly effective. Protect your health today by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Bridges.
You can complete our online contact form or call us at 580-255-4880.