If you have sleep apnea, you may think to get treatment from a sleep specialist, not your dentist. However, dental appliances and laser treatment may be a more comfortable, effective option than continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. At Teeth by Keith: Keith Marshall, DDS in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, experienced dentist Dr. Marshall can fit you for a mandibular repositioning device (MRD) or provide laser treatment for sleep apnea with NightLase®. Schedule an appointment at the New York City office online or over the phone.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which you have difficulty breathing while you sleep. Sleep apnea can cause you to stop breathing or take shallow breaths. These breathing disturbances last 10 seconds or longer.
If you have sleep apnea, you may stop breathing more than 30 times an hour over the course of the night. You may wake up gasping for air several times a night. As a result, your brain and body don’t get the oxygen they need.
Sleep apnea has a significant effect on your quality of sleep. You’re unlikely to wake up feeling satisfied and well-rested if you have untreated sleep apnea, no matter how many hours of sleep you get.
Low-quality sleep can greatly disrupt your everyday life. You may feel cranky or irritable all the time and have difficulty doing your job.
Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to serious health complications, including stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. If you already have these conditions, sleep apnea can worsen them.
Though sleep apnea can affect anyone, certain risk factors increase your chance of developing the condition. The majority of people who develop the condition are overweight or obese, and it’s more likely to develop starting at age 40. More men have sleep apnea than women.
You’re more likely to develop sleep apnea if you have a family history of the condition. Other health conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and asthma, also point to an increased risk.
Loud snoring is one of the most noticeable signs of sleep apnea. However, not everyone who snores has the condition.
If you go to an ear, nose, and throat doctor for sleep apnea treatment, the first treatment approach is usually a CPAP machine. CPAP involves wearing a face mask when you sleep. The mask is attached to a device that blows a steady stream of air down your throat.
Although CPAP is the most common sleep apnea therapy, many people find it uncomfortable and struggle to use the machine. As a dentist, Dr. Marshall offers alternative treatments that may be more effective.
One option is a dental appliance called a mandibular repositioning device (MRD), which you wear while you sleep. An MRD pushes your tongue and lower jaw forward, which keeps your airway open and allows you to breathe more easily while you sleep.
Dr. Marshall also offers the NightLase, noninvasive laser treatment for sleep apnea. NightLase tightens the tissue at the back of your throat, which may droop and interfere with your breathing. The procedure can improve snoring and sleep quality without having to use a device at night.
To learn how your dentist can treat your sleep apnea or schedule a diagnostic at-home sleep study, call Teeth by Keith: Keith Marshall, DDS, or use the online booking tool.