Sleep apnea is a common, frequently underdiagnosed condition that causes sufferers to pause in their breathing during sleep, sometimes for up to minutes, and can occur up to 30 times an hour. In addition to snoring loudly, sufferers are unable to get enough rest, particularly REM sleep, to allow normal cognitive function, resulting in excessive fatigue and memory and attention problems. Untreated apnea impairs work performance and can also hinder interpersonal relationships. In short, it is a frightening condition that needs professional help, a dentist’s help.
For some, choosing a dentist instead of a traditional doctor is a surprising way to address this condition, but, in reality, a dentist is a qualified and convenient expert on sleep apnea. Dentists are skilled at molding oral appliances, and such an appliance is frequently prescribed to treat the condition. They routinely mold retainers, mouth guards, and bite splints, which are very similar to the guards used to treat this problem. Dentists are trained to create, fit, and maintain these appliances, as well as licensed to do so. Others outside of dentistry who fabricate these items could be in violation of state laws. Logically, then, obtaining an appliance especially made for apnea should be done through a dentist.
Another advantage of using dentists for this condition is their understanding of the TMJ joint, a necessity when creating an effective oral appliance to treat sleep apnea. Other practitioners do not have the understanding of TMJ physiology that is so important to effective treatment. A well-made appliance could stop disruptive snoring and pauses in breathing.
Dentists are also in a better position than most to diagnose the condition, as they see many of their patients twice a year, allowing them time to assess their patients’ health and possible apnea symptoms properly . Consulting a new physician, who will insist on running an expensive spectrum of tests, could delay treatment for months.
Dentists also make treating this condition convenient due to their possessing, on site, the materials necessary to create the needed appliance. They also have a current working partnership with the laboratories that aid in fabrication. These facilities will only work with dentists and only when they have written a prescription. Other practitioners do not have this ease of access to experienced laboratory professionals.
Sleep apnea causes a host of unpleasant symptoms, including violent snoring and interrupted breathing, making it a dangerous and unpleasant affliction. Seeking quick treatment with a trustworthy professional is required for sufferers to get their health back. After years of experiencing fatigue, snoring, and attention problems, sufferers will be shocked at how much their lives improve once they have been treated by their dentists. Ending the symptoms of this dangerous condition may be only a dental visit away.