- Sleep apnea can significantly raise one’s risk of health problems, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- It can place people at an even higher risk of having heart attacks and strokes
- Research has shown that it can even make a person more dangerous when driving.
Fortunately, when the condition is treated some of these issues can be completely cured.
Oral appliances, or CPAP machines worn during sleep, are some of the most commonly used treatments for the sleep apnea. The specific appliances used depend on the various anatomical causes of the condition.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices, are widely used to treat the condition by means of a mask that is worn over the mouth and/or nose. The mask is connected to a long hose, which forces air into the patient’s airway to help it remain open. However, these devices can be bulky and difficult for some patients to use.
In cases where the apnea is mild to moderate, dentists sometimes team together with medical doctors to come up with alternative solutions, such as the use of an oral appliance.
Occurrences of apnea can often be reduced when patients are encouraged to initiate specific lifestyle changes, such as engaging in regular exercise, improving their diets and by avoiding nicotine and alcohol. A dentist well trained in the treatment of sleep apnea can make recommendations to patients about trying new sleeping positions or head elevations that can also help.