According to the National Sleep Foundation, an estimated 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. This is a serious condition which can be extremely detrimental to your health. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in strokes, heart attacks, an irregular heartbeat, sleeplessness, irritability, marital problems, employment difficulty, and depression.
Treatment Starts at Your Dentist’s Office
People don’t typically think of their dentist as the person to see about sleep apnea. But dentists are often the first practitioners to discover sleep apnea, and they’re uniquely qualified to help patients get the proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for their sleep apnea.
According to David Cunningham, physician and director of the Malborne Sleep Disorders Centre, dentists play “a significant role in the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in adults.” Dr. Cunningham notes that “your mouth, neck, and jaw can display telltale signs that point to the quality of sleep you are getting,” and dentists have specific training that relates to these regions of the body.
Dentists have a unique perspective on sleep apnea because they have a detailed understanding of the dental region, where sleep apnea occurs. Dr. Cunningham explains how dentists are experts at assessing “the shape of the jaws and arrangement of teeth, which are often reasons to seek dental or orthodontic treatment” This is why dentists can “predict the risk of sleep apnea and snoring.”
The Treatment Process
But dentists aren’t just helpful in noticing symptoms of sleep apnea. They also play an important role in the treatment process. The first thing your dentist will do is perform a full oral examination to help determine if your sleep issues are related to snoring or sleep apnea. Your dentist will also ask some routine questions to determine the quality of the sleep that you’ve been getting.
The second step in getting treatment for your sleep apnea is receiving a professional diagnosis. This will probably include both a physical examination and a polysomnography test, which is commonly referred to as a sleep study. Dr. Garceau will refer you to the appropriate doctor if she doscovers evidence of sleep apnea.
Once you’ve received your diagnosis, your dentist can help you determine the course of treatment that works best for you. For example, although effective, many patients find CPAP machines to be bulky and inconvenient. Fortunately, “dentists are pros on helping you with alternative treatment options to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).”
Your Sleep Apnea Dentist in Windsor and Hartford County
Call today to arrange your consultation with Dr. Garceau. It’s time to do something about your sleep apnea.