Sleep is an important part of your overall health. When you don't get a good night's sleep, you'll be tired the next day, which can impact your work, hobbies, and relationships. You may get sick more easily, and it can even be dangerous to drive a car when you're overtired. You may not know that your dentist might be able to help you get a better night's sleep. Here are three steps to treat your sleep apnea.
1. Diagnose your sleep apnea
If you're grinding your teeth at night, your dentist will be able to tell. According to WebMD, if the tops of your teeth are worn smooth, that is a sign that you're grinding your teeth. If you have sleep apnea, you sometimes stop breathing during the night. If this happens, you might start grinding your teeth as your body is trying to signal your brain to wake up so you can start breathing again. If your tongue has ridges along its edges, that's another sign that you may have sleep apnea, and your dentist will be able to tell.
2. Have you sent for a sleep study
If your dentist sees signs of sleep apnea during an oral exam, they may have you sent to do a sleep study. During a sleep study, you'll be observed overnight while you sleep, typically in a special laboratory setting. You'll be attached to an EEG to record your brain waves and an EKG to record your heart function. A trained specialist will evaluate your results to see if there are signs of you not breathing during the night. A sleep study will allow a doctor to correctly diagnose you with sleep apnea.
3. Create a mandibular advancement device
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common varieties of sleep apnea. This condition happens when the muscles in your mouth and throat relax too much while you're sleeping, which restricts your airway. A CPAP machine is one alternative for treating this kind of sleep apnea, but CPAP machines are expensive, and many patients find it difficult to sleep while wearing the face mask.
A mandibular advancement device, or MAP, as another alternative. It's a lot like a mouth guard, but it's made to be worn on both your upper and lower teeth. It can help you keep your airways open during the night. If you need a MAP, your dentist can take a mold of your teeth then have a MAP custom made for you.