What is Sleep Dentistry?

What is Sleep Dentistry?

Getting a good night of sleep has a profound impact on our ability to be productive during the day. Many people suffer from sleep disorders that cause snoring, breathing problems and other issues. These problems can interfere with our ability to get enough sleep. When lack of quality sleep interferes with daytime productivity, it is a good idea to seek professional treatment. Depending on the source of the problem, a doctor, dentist or sleep specialist may be able to help.

Sleep dentistry deals with sleep disorders that originate from problems in the mouth and throat. The most common of these is obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by the tongue or throat muscles becoming so relaxed that they block the airway, interrupting breathing. Enlarged tonsils or uvula can also cause obstructive sleep apnea.

The signature symptom of obstructive sleep apnea is loud snoring. Other symptoms include pauses in breathing and waking up frequently, especially if these awakenings are accompanied by shortness of breath, gasping or choking. If you experience daytime fatigue despite any obvious lack of sleep, this may also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Many patients with obstructive sleep apnea find relief from wearing a mouth guard at night. These mouth guards are custom-made by a dentist, and hold the jaw forward so that the airway remains open. Many of these mouth guards also position the tongue correctly for easier breathing. Surprisingly, wearing a mouth guard can effectively treat even the most serious cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

Not all snoring is caused by sleep apnea, however. Snore therapy can be employed to treat a range of other sleep disorders. To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, or to find out if you suffer from a sleep disorder, contact our office to schedule a consultation.