If you snore or have sleep apnea, where do you go for help? Many people might immediately call their family doctor or ENT specialist, but there is another key option: your dentist. Yes, your dentist can help treat sleep apnea. While it might come as a shock, not only do dentists treat oral conditions, but they can provide you with oral appliance therapy for treatment of your sleep apnea and snoring.
Sleep Apnea has Dental Origins
Caused by a collapse of the upper airway when the muscles relax during sleep, sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing throughout the night (and not just once). Your tongue is the largest muscle (it’s much larger than you think), and the most likely culprit for stoppage in breathing. The tongue is present in the mouth, but it also extends down the throat and beyond—throughout most of the length of the collapsible upper airway.
Our Role in Sleep Apnea
Dr. Kim Ledermann and Dr. Roy Hakala, our St. Paul, MN dentists, have received specialty training in oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea. With our advanced training and extensive knowledge and experience, we can provide you with a custom-fit FDA-approved dental device to help control the collapsing of the tongue into the airway. An oral appliance allows you to stop snoring, and sleep and breathe easier throughout the night—you can wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.
With the availability of oral appliance therapy, we can help prevent the collapsing of the tongue into the airway by moving the jaw forward, and allowing the air to flow from the mouth to the lungs. This helps you to breathe properly at nighttime and helps to decrease the occurrence of snoring—it’s a far less invasive and more predicable solution opposed to surgery.
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, contact the Minnesota Craniofacial Center, P.C.. Together we can determine if you need to receive further diagnosis from a sleep study and find out if oral appliance therapy is an option for you. Remember, you should never have to put up with a lack of sleep—or quality sleep for that matter.