October 05, 2022
Do you know that your dentist might be the first one to diagnose your sleep problem? Surprised? In most cases, your sleep disorder symptoms are linked to your oral health. During a dental visit, your dentist might know about your condition before you even mention it or before your primary care doctor diagnoses it. For this reason, doctors, dentists, and sleep experts work hand in hand to determine the cause, monitor, and treat sleep disorders accordingly.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, affects more than 30 million American adults. This condition is characterized by breathing interruptions when sleeping. Sleep apnea is mainly caused by an oversized tongue, weak airway muscles, and too much weight.
Sleep apnea is a condition that negatively impacts the patient’s quality of life. Since they are getting low-quality sleep, they may experience daytime drowsiness, memory loss, lack of focus, depression, and more. If you have these issues, you may want to consult a dentist.
This article provides more information on the role of a dentist such as Dentist Landsdale in managing sleeping problems. Read along to learn!
Why Your Dentist Might Diagnose Sleep Disorder First
Dentists are highly-trained and equipped to examine your oral health. During your dental visit, they usually note if you breathe through the mouth, if your tongue is positioned correctly, or if you experience tooth grinding—which are some reasons you might experience sleep problems.
It's vital to note that among the first signs of sleep apnea are bruxism (tooth grinding) and a large tongue. In this case, your dentist will be the first to determine these symptoms. Once oral conditions are determined to be behind your sleeping issue, the solution might lie in attending to them. Again, your dentist will be your first option when treating oral conditions and improving your sleep disorder.
How Can A Dentist Help Treat Sleep Disorder?
Dentists are trained to correct loud snoring and sleep apnea during their training. This part of the training is referred to as dental sleep medicine. Dentists trained in dental sleep medicine are critical in determining the ideal treatment plan for a particular patient. They also reduce snoring and obstructive sleep apnea via oral appliance therapy.
Dentists recommend two types of dental appliances when treating sleep disorders; tongue-retaining mouthpieces and mandibular advancement devices, in conjunction with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy to improve sleep apnea.
• Tongue-Retaining Mouthpieces: These appliances are ideal for individuals with sleep apnea due to low jaw flexibility. They prevent the tongue from blocking the airway during sleep. Tongue-retaining mouthpieces use minimum suction force to hold the tongue in place.
• Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): These are athletic-look-like mouth guards designed to fit over both sets of teeth. The trays are connected with a hinge at the center. Mandibular advancement devices restrict the tongue and lower jaw in a forward position at night to prevent the soft tissue in the back of the mouth from blocking the airway. Experienced dentists can interfere with MAD's design for additional comfort and effectiveness.
Incorporating Dental Devices To Treat Sleep Conditions
The first step in treating your sleep disorder is opening up about your symptoms. Then, the diagnosis or sleep study is done at a reputable clinic or home with a trained physician's supervision. At this point, a precise determination of whether a sleep condition results from oral health is made. And if this is the case, your doctor will recommend that you work with a dentist to correct the oral issues.
In most cases, patients with sleep apnea are advised to undergo continuous positive airway pressure therapy at the onset of the treatment. This treatment is ideal for individuals with severe sleep apnea. At this point, oral devices come in handy.
It's important to note that oral devices are only incorporated into your treatment if your doctor and a reputable dentist prescribe them. Then, a dentist experienced in sleep medicine provides the devices and adjusts them as required.
Surprisingly, dentists play a considerable role in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating sleeping problems. As said earlier, most sleep disorders are diagnosed by a dentist or are at least linked to oral conditions. In such a case, a patient might need to work with a dentist to treat the oral issues causing sleep disorder. At the end of the day, physicians, doctors, and clinicians must work closely with dentists to help individuals battling the effects of sleeping conditions. Remember, toothache, inflammation, and mouth sores are oral conditions that can worsen your sleeping disorder and need a dentist’s attention.