How Dentistry Can Treat Sleep Apnea

How Dentistry Can Treat Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder notorious for causing intense snoring. Snoring, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Sleep apnea also leads to pauses in your breathing while you sleep, which can wake you up gasping for air. This can lead to poor sleep quality, chronic fatigue, sore throats, and morning headaches. 

The effects of sleep apnea can make it hard to focus clearly during the day, but they can also take a toll on your body. Untreated sleep apnea increases your risk of developing hypertension or having a heart attack or stroke.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a go-to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but many people find CPAP machines noisy, uncomfortable, and hard to maintain.

That’s why our team at Palmieri Dentistry here in Mooresville, North Carolina, offers sleep apnea treatment alternatives to the CPAP machine.

How dentistry can treat sleep apnea

Dr. Roberto Palmieri offers two sleep apnea treatment options:

1. Mandibular advancement device

Mandibular advancement devices are custom-made oral appliances that position your jaw to keep your airway open while you sleep. This can be particularly helpful if you have excess throat tissue obstructing your airway. 

The device moves your tongue forward to remove airway obstructions and throat restrictions, reduce snoring, and improve your sleep. 

Wearing a mandibular advancement device is similar to wearing a mouthguard for sports or a night guard for bruxism. The device is customized based on impressions of your mouth. You wear the device while you sleep and remove it in the morning.

Unlike CPAP machines, these oral devices are easy to clean since there’s no intricate tubing.

2. Maxillomandibular advancement surgery

A mandibular advancement device may not be right if you have facial or throat structures that block your airway. You may instead benefit from maxillomandibular advancement surgery, where Dr. Palmieri repositions your upper and lower jaws to relieve airway obstructions.

According to a case report, surgery is an effective and long-term treatment for sleep apnea. It works partly by eliminating a common issue with CPAP machines: the temptation to skip a night of wearing your CPAP mask. Surgery is a permanent solution that requires no nightly upkeep.

Getting started with lifestyle modifications 

Whether you choose an oral appliance or surgery, these dental treatments can address your sleep apnea by reducing snoring and helping you enjoy a good night’s sleep. They also help you avoid the potentially serious complications of sleep apnea. 

In addition to recommending the right type of treatment for you, our team suggests specific lifestyle modifications that can further improve your quality of sleep. These include:

If you’ve put off discussing sleep apnea treatments because you don’t want a CPAP machine, consider how dentistry might help. Accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Palmieri has the experience and expertise to treat your sleep apnea and other dental issues.

To learn more about a dental solution to your sleep apnea, call our Charlotte-area office at 704-247-6336 or book a consultation online today.

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