Sleep apnea (sometimes called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA) is a prevalent disorder that disrupts normal breathing during sleep. As a result, OSA leads to repeated interruptions in breathing and a significant reduction in oxygen levels, which can have far-reaching effects. Luckily, simple general dentistry solutions may be an effective way to get lasting sleep apnea treatment.
Is OSA keeping you from enjoying a full, rejuvenating night’s slumber? Contact Dr. Thomas W. Wegner at Town & Country Dental in Oak Park, IL. Our dedicated dentist can help you find comfortable solutions that make a meaningful impact on your sleep. Just call (708) 383-0330 to get started now!
OSA is remarkably common, with experts estimating that at least 10% of the population displays signs of the disorder. In this blog, we will explore how dentists can help improve the lives of sleep apnea patients through specialized therapies and interventions.
Dentists and Sleep Apnea Screening
Dentists have a unique opportunity to identify potential sleep apnea cases among their patients. Many patients with sleep apnea exhibit dental signs that dentists can spot during routine check-ups, such as:
- Worn-down teeth
- Jaw pain
- A high incidence of cavities
Dentists can proactively initiate conversations about sleep disturbances and recommend sleep studies for proper diagnosis and personalized treatment planning.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
Dentists can make custom oral appliances that are designed to reposition the jaw and tongue, effectively opening the airway during sleep. OAT devices are comfortable to wear and highly convenient for patients who find continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines cumbersome or intolerable.
Collaboration with Sleep Medicine Specialists
Dentists can enhance the quality of sleep apnea treatment by collaborating closely with sleep medicine specialists and physicians. A multi-disciplinary approach ensures comprehensive care for patients with more severe cases of sleep apnea.
Dentists and sleep specialists can work together to create customized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs. This collaboration also allows for seamless communication and exchange of information between healthcare providers, leading to better patient outcomes.
Patient Education and Lifestyle Counseling
Dentists can play a pivotal role in educating their patients about sleep apnea, its potential consequences, and the available treatment options. Through patient education, dentists can raise awareness about the importance of seeking timely diagnosis and treatment.
Additionally, they can provide lifestyle counseling to encourage healthy habits that contribute to better sleep hygiene, such as:
- Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule
- Avoiding caffeine before bedtime
- Reducing alcohol consumption
Follow-Up and Treatment Monitoring
Providing sleep apnea treatment doesn’t end with the fitting of an oral appliance or initiation of therapy. Dentists must schedule regular follow-up appointments to assess treatment progress and make any necessary adjustments to the appliance.
Non-Invasive Sleep Apnea Treatment in Oak Park, IL
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder with far-reaching consequences on a person’s health and quality of life. Dentists can make a significant difference in the lives of sleep apnea patients by actively participating in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
If you believe that OSA is keeping you from enjoying a full night’s sleep, contact Dr. Wegner online here or at (708) 383-0330.