Dental Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Thousands of people in the US suffer from sleep apnea, yet most aren’t even aware they have it. Even so, the long-term effects it can have on a person’s health are very real.
At Smileneeds Dental, we believe that exceptional dentistry needs to look beyond the teeth and care for the whole patient. We use advanced dental technology to help patients identify their risk of oral and oral-related diseases, so they can be proactive about protecting their health.
Dr. Castro provides exceptional dental care for Upland and surrounding communities. Schedule your comprehensive consultation with us today!
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person stops breathing during the night. As they sleep, the muscles in the throat relax into the airway, inhibiting oxygen intake. In response, the body wakes the sleeper to jumpstart breathing. This happens multiple times during the night, though the sleeper rarely remembers being woken.
In many cases, sleep apnea also causes tooth grinding, as the body forces the jaw forward to open the airway. This leads to worn teeth, headaches, and jaw problems.
OSA is highly disruptive to sleep patterns, and can have severe side effects over an extended period of time. Potential side effects of OSA include:
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty focusing
- Worn, cracked or yellowed teeth due to grinding
- High blood pressure
Diagnosing OSA at the Dental Office
At Smileneeds Dental, we can help patients identify whether they are at risk of sleep apnea. Our office is equipped with the latest in modern dental technology, which we use to examine the patient’s oral and throat structure.
We provide patient information on the causes and symptoms of OSA, and elaborate on their risk factors. A sleep study will be needed to confirm a diagnosis of OSA.
OSA Dental Treatment Options
Once OSA has been diagnosed, our office can educate patients on potential treatment options. We offer dental appliances that counter sleep apnea and reduce nighttime waking events. The best appliance will depend upon the diagnosis and the severity of the patient’s OSA.
The goal of OSA dental appliances is to keep the tongue from relaxing toward the back of the throat, thus keeping the airway open. There are two main types of dental appliance:
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): Similar to a mouthguard or orthodontic retainer, this device consists of two pieces fitted over the upper and lower dental arches, connected via metal hinges. MADs gently push the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward. The dentist can adjust the device into ideal placement, providing treatment with optimal patient comfort.
Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces: These devices look much like MADs, but use suction to hold the tongue forward and keep the airway open. They are most commonly given to patients who cannot have their jaw repositioned adequately using MADs.
Although these options are not ideal for all instances of sleep apnea, they can be highly effective for those who have difficulty using the more common CPAP machines.
Patient-Focused Dental Care in Upland
Smileneeds Dental prides itself on helping patients to achieve great overall health. We utilize the latest in proven dental technology to help Upland residents stay in optimal oral health and wellbeing. Schedule your next appointment with us today.