Snoring Solutions and Sleep Apnea Treatment in San Antonio, TX!Dr. Lauren Malitz on CPAP Machine - Advanced Dental Associates Read Transcript
So in our office we have a checklist that we ask patients. Generally we start off by the question of “do you snore” and if somebody were to check yes on a do you snore question then you can kind of go on and ask them more questions. If you do feel that there may be a chance that the person could be suffering from sleep apnea, we would then refer the patient to a physician. That physician would then request a sleep study and once the sleep study is done, then that would tell us if the person actually does have sleep apnea or if they just suffer from snoring because not always does a patient who snores have to be apnic as well. If a person is diagnosed with sleep apnea, they have the option of getting a CPAP machine which is a mask they wear over their mouth and nose that basically has positive pressure oxygen being pushed down their airway to keep their airway open. What a dentist can do is a dentist can actually work alongside the physician and develop an oral appliance and that can either be used in conjunction with a CPAP machine. If a patient cannot tolerate a CPAP machine or if they travel a lot and maybe they don’t want to take their CPAP with them, then they have an oral appliance that they can wear. The oral appliance is fabricated by a lab, impressions are taken here in our office after a physician has requested a script for an oral appliance. The impressions are sent to a lab and the oral appliance is fabricated by the lab. So the appliance actually holds the mouth forward so that it doesn’t allow the tongue to close off the airway.
Snoring. We all do it once in a while, but some of us are louder and more frequent than others. If you sleep next to someone, they might report that your snoring is so loud they can barely get to sleep, or you may even wake yourself up! Heavy snoring can be a symptom of a more serious problem, and while our San Antonio, TX dentist can treat you for your snoring, it’s important to make sure you aren’t also suffering from sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a blockage of your airway while sleeping. It can result in interrupted breathing, snoring, daytime fatigue, headaches, chest pain, and feelings of choking. While snoring is often the most common symptom, if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, you’re probably not getting a good night’s sleep, meaning fatigue is likely too.
Sleep apnea can have a variety of causes, such as:
- Obesity: excess fat in the neck can cause narrowing of the airway, especially when laying down.
- Alcohol consumption: alcohol affects the part of the brain responsible for regulating breathing. This can lead to interrupted breath patterns during sleep, or a narrowing of the airway.
- Medications: some medications can cause effects similar to alcohol.
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
The best way to diagnose sleep apnea is to have a sleep test performed. This is done by a licensed physician, and we are happy to help work with a doctor to help you arrange a study. Measuring a variety of physical indicators, a sleep study can give us an accurate picture of what you body is doing while you are asleep. We can use this information to determine whether you are suffering from sleep apnea or are just a loud snorer. Either way, we can treat you!
Treating Sleep Apnea and Snoring
To understand how snoring and sleep apnea treatment work, it’s important to understand why both happen: blocked airways. When you sleep, the muscles in your jaw relax, which can lead to a blockage of your airway. Just like with sleep apnea, the blockage can lead to loud snoring as you try to breath through a reduced space. Your body compensates by trying to take in more air, which can cause snoring to become louder.
To treat the blocked airflow that causes snoring and sleep apnea, we use several different kinds of oral appliances. The size and method the appliances use varies from design to design, but all of them perform the same function: stopping your snoring!
Oral appliances do this by helping to keep your jaw in one place and provide for good airflow. Some appliances are as small as a splint on your front few teeth, and others fit more like a mouthguard. We’ll work with you to determine the best appliance for your needs!
Getting Your Oral Appliances
Each oral appliance is custom made. Your mouth and your needs are unique, and your sleep apnea treatment should be too! We’ll have you come in for an appointment where we’ll take an impression of your mouth. This impression is used by our dental lab to build a perfectly designed appliance just for you!
At a follow-up appointment, we’ll have a final fitting and make any necessary adjustments in order to make your oral appliance comfortable and easy to wear. You’ll be sleeping more soundly and feeling better during the day before you know it!
If you are suffering from heavy snoring or think you may have sleep apnea, don’t suffer any more sleepless nights and half-awake days. Call our San Antonio, TX dentist office today for sleep apnea treatment at 210-819-5233, or request an appointment using our online form. We look forward to helping you!