Working with Your Dentist and Doctor to Treat Sleep Apnea

Photo: Dentist OfficeIf you live with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)—or you sleep next to someone who does—you’ve surely searched high and low for a solution. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, and headaches. A chronic condition, it can lead to other health issues like depression, heart disease, and diabetes. If you suspect that you’re suffering from OSA it’s important to work closely with both a sleep physician and a sleep apnea dentist.

Diagnosing OSA with Your Doctor

If your dentist suspects that you suffer from sleep apnea, he or she will refer you to a specialized physician for a diagnosis. Two options are available to test for sleep apnea: an in-clinic overnight sleep study or an at-home sleep apnea test. Once a diagnosis is confirmed a patient can opt for a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device but they can often be bulky and inconvenient. An alternative is to be fitted with an oral device which is when you’ll be referred back to a qualified dentist.

Visiting a Sleep Apnea Dentist

An ongoing relationship with your sleep dentist is key to the effective, long-term treatment of OSA. Here at our Chicago dental practice and sleep apnea center, we’re excited to partner with you and bring some peace and quiet back to your evening. Once you’ve been formally diagnosed with OSA, you’ll be recommended to a sleep dentist to explore your options for sleep dental solutions.

The dentists at Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center in Chicago have extensive experience in assessing and treating OSA and have a close relationship with referring physicians, sleep labs, and hospitals in the city.

Fitting Your Oral Appliance for OSA

Obstructive Sleep Apnea stems from an obstruction of the airway during sleep. Oral appliances for treating sleep apnea work by repositioning the tongue and jaw during sleep to open up the airway. These appliances are similar to the bite guards worn by boxers and other athletes. One of the reasons these devices are so effective is that they are custom made to fit each patient’s unique oral structure.

When you begin work with a sleep dentist, the dentist will take molds of your mouth. These molds will be sent out to a lab where specialists create durable devices formed to your mouth. These devices are sent back to your dentist, who will then bring you in for a formal fitting. Often, you will be fit for two devices. One will be worn at night to open your airway. The other is a jaw repositioning mouthpiece, which is worn in the morning to adjust your bite back to its normal position.

Ongoing Support from Your Doctor and Dentist

The key to dental health is to see your dentist regularly, and the same goes for sleep dentistry. Many factors play a role in OSA, including sleep position, weight, and allergies. To keep up with these changes, and to adjust and ensure the fit and comfort of your oral device, regular follow-up with your dentist is required.

It’s also important to schedule a follow-up with your sleep physician in order to improve or confirm treatment efficacy. This is particularly important if you’ve been diagnosed with a comorbidity related to sleep apnea. Follow-up sleep testing may be required to ensure that the oral appliance therapy is effective.

To begin oral appliance therapy for OSA, contact Smile On Dental Salon and Sleep Apnea Center today at 773-570-1630.