Dentist Answers FAQs About Sleep Apnea

December 9, 2022

Woman with headache from sleep apneaYou could be one of the thousands of American adults with undiagnosed sleep apnea. Did you know that your general dentist can help with the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? Your dentist, general practitioner, and/or sleep doctor can work together to create a treatment plan that meets your needs and helps you feel like yourself again. 

Dr. Jason Cellars, dentist in Huntington Beach, can help you find relief from sleep apnea so you can get the rest you deserve. Don’t let sleep issues interfere with your work, life, and family. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment. 

In the meantime, here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about sleep apnea: 

  1. What exactly is sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea is when a person involuntarily stops breathing while sleeping. The two types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the lower jawbone muscles are too weak to hold the jaw in place during sleep. Consequently, the jaw and tongue fall backward, creating a snoring or choking sound. OSA may also develop if a person has too much fatty tissue in the back of their throat. 

  • Central sleep apnea is a result of the brain not sending signals to the muscles controlling breathing. 

It is important to note that dentists can only help with obstructive sleep apnea, not central sleep apnea. 

  1. Does obstructive sleep apnea impact oral health? 

Yes. For many people, OSA leads to dry mouth which begins a domino effect of oral health issues like cavities, gum disease, and mouth sores. 

OSA may also be linked to the development of TMJ disorder. 

  1. How does sleep apnea affect everyday life? 

When you have sleep apnea, your body struggles to breathe and get enough oxygen. This can lead to low energy levels that ruin all aspects of your day-to-day life, such as work, playing with your kids, dating, hygiene, and diet. 

Additionally, untreated sleep apnea can lead to overall health issues like high blood pressure, headaches, diabetes, stroke, mood swings, and heart failure. 

  1. How do dentists treat OSA? 

When it comes to sleep apnea (and almost any other health issue), non-invasive treatment is the best. Dentists offer an effective alternative to CPAP machines, called oral appliances. 

An oral appliance is a removable device that pushes the lower jaw forward while the patient sleeps. This opens up the airway so breathing is no longer an issue. Oral appliances are quieter and much more comfortable than CPAP machines. 

There are three types of oral appliances: 

  • Mandibular advancement device

  • Tongue-stablizing device

  • Rapid maxillary expansion

Read more about these oral appliances here. 

  1. Do oral appliances really work? 

Oral appliances have helped thousands of people reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. 

According to the Sleep Foundation, CPAP machines are more effective, however, they only have a 40 percent compliance rate. Oral appliances, specifically mandibular advancement devices, have an 80 percent compliance rate.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Huntington Beach

Are the effects of sleep apnea controlling your life? Is CPAP therapy not working for you? Still trying to figure out if you even have sleep apnea? We can help! Contact Dr. Jason Cellars’ dental practice today at (714) 848-4247 to schedule an initial consultation.

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