When it comes to sleepless nights, you’ve had your share. Whether you’re lying awake in bed thinking about the day that just ended or worrying about the one that hasn’t happened yet. The tossing and turning is no fun, especially the next morning when you’re groggy and have a difficult time focusing.
The self-inflicted sleepless nights when you just can’t turn off your mind are one thing, but when your snoring is keeping you and your bed partner up, it’s a whole other matter. Sure, it’s funny when your partner makes jokes about your loud snoring. But snoring is no laughing matter when it comes to your overall health.
Persistent loud snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that can put you at higher risk for serious medical conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, or heart failure. Here, the sleep apnea experts at Greenway Dental Group in Greenbelt, Maryland, offer their insights on how a dentist can help you get a better night’s sleep.
The first thing for you to know is that if you’re a devout snorer, you’re not alone. An estimated 90 million people in the United States suffer from snoring. A portion of these people — roughly half — may have OSA. This type of sleep apnea temporarily stops you from breathing, which causes sufferers to gasp and wake up throughout the night.
Your dentist can help you discover if you’re just a loud snorer or if you have sleep apnea and can help you and your bed partner get a full night of sleep. Now, that’s a win-win!
You may be wondering why you’d go to your dentist about snoring or sleep apnea. After all, don’t dentists take care of your teeth by filling cavities and helping their patients get and maintain the smile they’ve always wanted?
All of that’s true. Dentists offer preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services for their patients’ teeth, but their education and training also makes them experts on the jaw and the mechanics of the mouth. This training not only helps them diagnose related issues like teeth grinding, but also gives them an advantage in addressing the physical causes of snoring.
As you may know, the go-to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure device, more commonly referred to as a CPAP. The CPAP provides a consistent flow of air through a mask that keeps your airway open, which prevents you from stopping breathing while you’re asleep.
After doing a thorough assessment, your dentist develops a treatment plan that addresses the root cause of your snoring. Your dentist may recommend a CPAP for you, but matching the patient with the best solution is key.
The CPAP should work for most, if not all, patients. However, it only works if the patient uses it. Some patients find it uncomfortable and can’t or won’t use it.
Your dentist can assess your situation and prescribe an alternative to a CPAP called an oral appliance. These devices are more portable and custom-made specifically to you. Some patients find an appliance more comfortable and easier to use, making it a great alternative for non-compliant CPAP folks.
Your dentist can also custom-design mouthguards that can address teeth clenching and grinding as well as snoring. Yes, lower arch mouthguards can help with snoring by adjusting your jaw alignment in a way that opens your airway and helps you breathe more easily overnight.
If you snore or are having problems getting a restful night’s sleep, contact the sleep apnea experts at Greenway Dental Group in Greenbelt, Maryland, for a full range of sleep apnea care. Book your consultation online or call the office today.