Sleep Apnea Treatment in Las Vegas, NV
Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea have no doubt spent numerous appointments in a doctor’s office trying to treat the condition. What few realize, though, is that a dentist can also be beneficial in treating a particular type of sleep apnea called ‘obstructive.’
During obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat relax while someone sleeps and puts pressure on the airway. When this happens, the individual can stop breathing while asleep. This is a terrifying condition, as the individual might wake up gasping for air.
What Can a Dentist Do?
Dentists are experts not only of the teeth and gums but also of the alignment of the jaws themselves. There are multiple causes of obstructive sleep apnea, including being overweight, but one of the most common is having a natural jaw alignment that makes the patient prone to obstructive sleep apnea.
To combat obstructive sleep apnea, a trained professional can create an appliance for oral appliance therapy.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is when the patient wears a synthetic appliance similar to a mouth guard during sleep. The appliance is often made of rubber or similar material and functions similar to an orthodontic retainer. The appliance realigns the jaws at night, so the muscles don’t relax, and the tongue doesn’t slip back into the throat and obstruct the airway.
How It Works
Before visiting a dentist for help with sleep apnea, it’s necessary to receive an official diagnosis from a medical physician. Once this has been obtained, an appointment is made. The first step with the dentist will always be a visual and tactile exam with x-rays to get a good idea of oral health and the natural jaw alignment.
Once this is done, the mouth is measured so the dentist can make a mold for the appliance. This can include the use of additional technology like computer 3D modeling for the best results. The appliance can take two weeks to complete, so sometimes the dentist will provide a temporary model. Once ready, the permanent appliance can be used straight away.
There is a slight period of adjustment, but the appliance is often successful.