Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea and How Can Airway Dentistry Help?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep. Symptoms include loud snoring, restless sleep, and daytime fatigue, and if it’s left untreated, OSA can lead to serious health issues like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. The good news is that airway dentistry in Raleigh, NC can help.

What Is This Condition, and How Can Airway Dentistry Help?

Symptoms and Risks

Individuals with OSA often experience loud snoring, frequent awakenings, morning headaches, and daytime drowsiness. These symptoms can lead to a seriously reduced quality of life and increased risk of accidents. Long-term risks can be even more serious and can include cardiovascular problems, metabolic syndrome, and complications with medications and surgeries.

Traditional Treatment Methods

The most common treatment for OSA is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, which uses a machine to keep airways open during sleep. This is an effective treatment, but there are issues. For one thing, CPAP can be uncomfortable or difficult to tolerate for some patients. It can also disrupt co-sleeping situations and interfere with relationships.

Airway Dentistry

This is an emerging field that focuses on diagnosing and treating OSA through dental means, by looking at the shape of the mouth and seeing how this can affect sleep. Treatments might include the use of oral appliances, lifestyle changes, and collaborative approaches with other healthcare professionals to address factors that can all be contributing to the problem.

Oral Appliances

One important tool in fighting OSA is custom-fitted oral appliances. These devices can reposition the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open during sleep, providing an effective treatment for mild to moderate issues. This can often be a good alternative for patients who struggle with a CPAP machine.

Preventive Strategies and Early Intervention

In treating OSA, we also emphasize prevention, and this is especially important for children. By monitoring and guiding jaw and teeth development, dentists can help ensure proper airway growth in a child, which can potentially prevent OSA from developing at all. By preventing this particular issue, you can also prevent many of the related disorders that tend to appear later in life in those with OSA.

Individualized Treatment Approaches

There is no universal solution for all cases. The efficacy of any treatment varies based on individual conditions, anatomy, and other health factors, so it’s always important to get a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified professional who can help you find the right approach for your issues and needs.

Get Quality Sleep Apnea Help in Raleigh, NC

OSA is a serious health concern, but with the right help, there are more options for effective treatment than ever before. A holistic dental approach, whether standalone or in combination with other treatments, can significantly improve sleep quality and overall health. If you’re struggling with OSA, have noticed issues with mouth breathing in your child, or just want to learn more, contact the office of Rebecca E. Reeves DMD, PA to work with a quality family practice.

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