What is Dental Sleep Medicine?
In dentistry, sleep medicine is a part of the dental practice that focuses on OAT (oral appliance therapy) in treating sleep-disordered breathing, such as chronic snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep dentists specialize in treating sleep apnea or other disordered breathing conditions. OATs hold the best treatment option for individuals who have undergone a sleep study and have an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis but cannot use a CPAP machine.
Through an OAT (oral appliance therapy) device, sleep dentists treat the symptoms of sleep apnea. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Interrupted breathing
- Headaches or migraines
- Unable to concentrate
- Sore or dry throat in the morning
Oral appliance devices treat OSA symptoms by keeping the teeth and jaw in place with a fitted oral device. The custom-fit oral device repositions the jaw just enough to prevent the tongue from sliding back and causing disordered breathing problems. Moreover, by correcting the jaw’s placement, individuals can breathe all night freely and obtain regular sleep patterns.
Why Dental Sleep Medicine?
Dental sleep medicine is vital for individuals with mild to moderate OSA or those unable to wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Instead of wearing a mask with a hose connected to a loud machine, as with CPAP machines, a mouth-guard-like device is worn. The ability to custom-fit an OAT device allows for greater wearer comfort. Also, OAT devices are much smaller and don’t require as much cleaning and upkeep like CPAP machines do, making oral appliance therapy devices great for those who travel often. Additionally, compliance with oral appliance therapy devices is higher than with CPAP wearers.
Other benefits of sleep dentistry include:
- Non-invasive treatment
- Safe to use
- It does not require replacement parts
- Reduces symptoms of OSA
In addition, most medical insurances cover oral appliance therapy devices. If chronic snoring prevents someone from having a restful night’s sleep or if an individual has a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, reaching out to a dentist specializing in disordered breathing is the first step in obtaining a tailored treatment plan.
Dental Sleep Medicine With Smiles of Alaska
For more information regarding sleep apnea and the various treatment plan options, contact the Smiles of Alaska team. We are available through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 907-349-6466. We are a family dentistry practice conveniently located in Soldotna and Anchorage, Alaska, specializing in sleep dentistry.
We look forward to assisting our patients in living life to the fullest!