For those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, dentistry may not immediately come to mind as a source of aid. However, dentists provide specialized help to treat sleep apnea rather than other medical professionals who are not as educated in oral health to provide treatment.
Obstructive sleep apnea can cause hundreds of sleep interruptions per night, according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). The condition occurs when “your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway.” The resulting pauses in breathing interrupt sleep. Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition, affecting millions of people in the United States. Symptoms include daytime fatigue, snoring, choking, and gasping during sleep.
Though obstructive sleep apnea is common, it can also be a very serious condition. Sleep disruptions can cause daytime fatigue and can also raise your risk for complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, acid reflux, and more, according to the AADSM.
Once a doctor has diagnosed a patient with obstructive sleep apnea, dentists can help alleviate the symptoms with a treatment plan. Oral appliances may be one of the treatment options suggested by a dentist, which is often more comfortable and practical than other options, such as a CPAP machine or surgery. According to the Wisconsin Dental Association, “oral appliances for obstructive sleep apnea look similar to an athletic mouthguard” and reposition the tongue and jaw to improve the airflow. Dentists who provide such care—such as HollowBrook Sleep dentists—customize each oral appliance for a patient’s specific needs and then monitor the patient over time to optimize the results.
HollowBrook Sleep features two qualified dentists: Dr. Lee Smith, who earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, and Dr. Eric Erlander, whose DDS is from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Erlander is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine; the certification requires knowledge of and experience in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
If you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, don’t let the symptoms damage your quality of life. Contact us today to discuss sleep apnea treatment options.