Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing starts and then stops intermittently throughout the night. It is becoming an increasing issue and can take many different forms. Every sleep apnea patient looks different and the symptoms vary – differing in ages, weights, and gender.
At Orchard Family Dentistry in Centennial, we actively look for signs of patients with obstructive sleep apnea by examining the tongue, soft palate, tonsils, uvula, and side walls of the throat during our oral exams. If we suspect you may have sleep apnea, certain x-rays and sleep tests are recommended first. One form of treatment is to use a CPAP machine prescribed by a primary care physician. An additional tool used to assist with breathing at night is a dental sleep appliance.
Dental sleep appliances are used to temporarily protrude the lower jaw forward while you sleep in order to give more space in the back of the throat for breathing. The appliance is an upper and lower plastic guard that is connected by a band. The band can be adjusted to move the lower jaw forward to your level of comfort. Once this appliance is being used, an additional sleep test will be needed to verify that the appliance is effective.
Sleep tests nowadays are a lot more convenient than in the past. Patients can easily take home a sleep test device and perform the test that night in the comfort of their own bed. However, some patients and physicians do prefer going to a sleep clinic for specific medical reasons. Whatever your means of testing, please inform us if you suspect or have been told that you have sleep apnea when you visit us during your check-ups. We will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision. For other services, click here.