If you experience symptoms such as snoring, headaches, or daytime fatigue, you could be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea and not be aware of it.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing at numerous points during your sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which the airway becomes obstructed during sleep and prevents adequate airflow.
“Just because a patient snores, it may be a symptom of sleep apnea that has serious health risks,” says Dr. Thomas Bucker at Carpathian Dental. “Patients should not be self-treating for this condition because of the severe health risks associated with sleep apnea.”
Here’s why getting professional help for your sleep apnea is your best option for treatment.
Understand Your Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can lead to chronic health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even accidents from your fatigue. Knowing whether or not you have sleep apnea should be the first step in your treatment.
You’ll need to know what type of sleep apnea you have and how severe it is before seeking treatment. There are two different types of sleep apnea and a third type in which these two are present in combination. If you don’t know what’s causing your sleep apnea, seeking treatment is often futile.
“Oral appliance therapy is meant for treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea. This can only be determined by a sleep test (polysomnagram) from a sleep physician,” Dr. Bucker says. “Treatment using oral appliance therapy requires diagnosis by a sleep physician and treatment by a sleep dentist. It requires both treating doctors.”
By first getting an accurate diagnosis for your sleep apnea, you can secure a form of treatment that works for you.
Don’t Waste Time or Money on Ineffective Treatments
If you have any symptoms of sleep apnea, you can talk with Dr. Bucker about what you’re experiencing. He can refer you to a sleep specialist for a proper diagnosis before working closely with you and your sleep doctor to create an effective treatment plan.
When you attempt to self-diagnose or treat sleep apnea, Dr. Bucker explains that you won’t be able to secure treatment under your insurance plan: “Insurance companies will not pay unless there is a sleep test and prescription from a sleep physician,” he says.
Any over-the-counter sleep apnea products you see advertise quick remedies for your condition. These treatments rarely work and can even be dangerous for the patient. Without a correct diagnosis, your sleep apnea severity and type cannot be determined.
You can get treatment that works by visiting Carpathian Dental to discuss your symptoms and get a referral. If sleep apnea is present, Dr. Bucker can talk more with you about an oral sleep appliance and how it can help you maintain proper breathing during sleep.
Maintaining Oral Health Is Essential
Before you seek treatment of sleep apnea, consider your oral health. “A dentist needs to evaluate a patient’s oral health before placing an appliance,” says Dr. Bucker. This means addressing any problems before an oral appliance can be considered.
For instance, if you have advanced gum disease, an oral appliance could be more harmful than helpful. “There is a risk of actually pulling out a tooth with the appliance if a patient has severe periodontal disease,” Dr. Bucker cautions.
Dr. Bucker also explains that patients need to seek treatment for other conditions such as fractured teeth or even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders before considering an oral sleep appliance. “Broken teeth need to be restored prior to fabrication of an appliance. If a patient has any TMJ symptoms, the appliance may exacerbate their problems.”
By visiting Carpathian Dental prior to your sleep apnea diagnosis or treatment plan, you can begin to address these problems so you’ll be ready to successfully treat your sleep apnea when the time comes.
Managing Your Care Long-Term
Your life isn’t over just because you have sleep apnea. You can help ease your symptoms with the help of a sleep specialist and Dr. Bucker. Your life can and will begin to improve once you receive the proper treatment for your specific type of sleep apnea.
Dr. Bucker and your sleep doctor can help provide you with treatment that really works. Continuing to manage your care is essential, as your sleep apnea can change over time. By visiting Carpathian Dental regularly, we can make any necessary adjustments to your oral sleep appliance.
Getting the right care for your sleep apnea begins with the right diagnosis. Don’t wait to seek help for your sleep apnea—this condition can cause life-threatening problems. Schedule an appointment with us today to talk about your symptoms and get professional help for your sleep apnea!