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How a Dentist Can Help Sleep Apnea

How a Dentist Can Help Sleep Apnea

If you’re tired every morning because you’re waking up multiple times every night — especially if you’re snoring a lot — you might need to see a doctor to improve your sleep.

Or maybe you need to visit the dentist.

That’s right. If your dentist is anything like the experts at Smile Design Manhattan, in the Midtown West neighborhood of New York City, they may be able to treat your sleep apnea with a custom-designed oral appliance.

What is sleep apnea?

About 30 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, but only about 6 million have been diagnosed with the condition, which causes you to stop breathing for periods of time as you sleep throughout the night. 

With sleep apnea, you stop breathing because your airway closes or narrows so much that your oxygen levels drop. This disruption can happen hundreds of times a night; you wake up each time your breathing stops, your sleep is fragmented, and the result is poor-quality rest.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, waking up gasping for air, headaches, fatigue, and irritability. The lack of oxygen can keep you from functioning optimally during the day and damage your health, raising your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and high blood pressure.

How can a dentist treat sleep apnea? 

A common treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which blows air down your throat to keep it open all night. Another treatment is a snore guard, a custom-made oral appliance that fits in your mouth, similar to a mouthguard used in sports.

A snore guard is designed to push your lower jaw slightly forward and hold your tongue between the upper and lower parts of the appliance. This positioning prevents the muscles in your throat from relaxing and obstructing your airway.

To create your snore guard, the team at Smile Design Manhattan takes impressions of your teeth to customize a guard that fits snugly in your mouth.

A CPAP machine is often the most effective way to treat sleep apnea, but the device can be clunky, and it involves wearing a mask at night that may be hard to get used to. A snore guard, on the other hand, is small and portable, so it’s easy to use and take with you when you travel.

A snore guard works best in people with mild to moderate sleep apnea; if you have a severe case, you’re likely better off with CPAP treatment.

You don’t have to go any longer getting poor sleep. Contact the Smile Design Manhattan office by phone or online to set up a consultation today, and you may sleep better sooner than you think!

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