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How a dentist can help with sleep apnea
Posted on November 11th, 2014
When someone is diagnosed with or suspects that they have sleep apnea they often do not realize that in many cases a dentist trained in sleep dentistry could help them right here in Victoria, Texas. The first step is always to get a diagnosis through a sleep test which is then read by a board certified sleep physician. Patients can get a referral for a sleep test through their physician or in most states through a qualified dentist.
There are numerous possible sleep disorders, with sleep apnea being one of the most common ones. Sleep apnea is generally graded as mild, moderate or severe and is usually associated with snoring. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s guidelines, a patient who has mild or moderate sleep apnea should have their choice of treatment between a CPAP machine or an oral appliance. Those with severe sleep apnea are typically given a CPAP, unless there are extenuating conditions which prevent them from using one.
For those sleep apnea patients who are are unable to use a CPAP machine, the Mandibular Repositioning Appliance or (MRA) is the dental treatment of choice to treat sleep apnea and snoring. In some cases when a patient needs or wants a CPAP but is having issues from the high pressures such as leakage that irritates the eyes or wakes them and the spouse up, the oral sleep apnea appliance can be used in combination with the CPAP. There are multiple ways tom use the devices in combination, all of which should allow for a decreased CPAP pressure and a more effective treatment. There is even a way that we can attach the nasal pillow CPAP mask to the oral appliance so that there is no need for the CPAP headstrap that can be uncomfortable for some patients.