Do you wake up feeling tired no matter how much “sleep” you get?
Experience headaches, daytime fatigue, or snoring?
You could have a sleep disorder!
When your sleep quality or quantity is impaired, you may need sleep medicine to treat it.
What is sleep medicine?
Sleep medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on the assessment and treatment of sleep disturbances or disorders.
There are five main types of sleep disorders:
- Restless legs syndrome
- REM sleep behavior disorder
- Sleep apnea
In this blog, we’re going to discuss dental sleep medicine for sleep apnea.
What is sleep medicine for sleep apnea?
Sleep medicine for sleep apnea comes in many forms; it can be a CPAP machine to help you breathe, an oral appliance, therapy, or lifestyle changes.
Here’s what you can expect at Simpsonville Dental Associates:
1. Start with an initial consultation
At this appointment, you’ll sit down with our dental sleep medicine expert, Dr. Brooks Godwin, to go over your symptoms and understand what’s troubling you.
2. Take a home sleep test
A home sleep test is a simple breathing monitor that you’ll wear for one night’s sleep at home. It’ll track your oxygen levels and breathing cycles, patterns, and effort.
Dr. Godwin will use the results to seek an answer to your sleep disorder and recommend treatment.
3. Get treated
At our dental office, our sleep medicine treatment is an oral appliance.
Oral appliance therapy is a custom-fit, mouthguard-like device that you wear when sleeping. It’ll support your jaw to keep your airway open.
If this is not the best option for you, Dr. Godwin will refer you to a trusted sleep specialist or partner with your physician for further care.
How is the dental sleep appliance made?
To create your sleep apnea oral appliance, Dr. Godwin will complete a thorough evaluation of your teeth, jaw, tongue, and airway. He’ll find the precise measurements to keep your airway open while you sleep.
Then he’ll form an impression of your teeth, which is sent off to our partner dental lab to create your custom-crafted appliance.
Once it’s ready, you’ll return to our office to test out the oral appliance and make sure everything feels right.
From there, you’ll wear your sleep apnea device each night while you sleep. Before you know it, your painful symptoms will disappear, and your quality of sleep (and life) will improve!
Benefits of dental sleep medicine at Simpsonville Dental Associates
Here’s why patients love our oral appliance for sleep apnea therapy:
The home sleep test allows you to complete the diagnostics from the comfort of your bed – not a sleep study lab.
The oral appliance is custom-crafted for your teeth and uses a lightweight material. It’s easy to wear and will ease your painful symptoms. Plus, it doesn’t restrict your sleep positions.
The sleep study takes only one night! And thanks to modern technology, creating your appliance is a quick process too.
The oral appliance is small, portable, and easy to travel with – especially compared to other sleep apnea solutions like the large and noisy CPAP machine, which requires electricity.
Our sleep test is less expensive than a clinical sleep study in a lab. The oral appliance is also cost-effective.
Your dental or medical insurance may cover both of these treatments!
When you think about it, going to a dentist for sleep medicine seems like the logical choice. They have extensive training on teeth and jaw alignment, which is a huge factor in sleep apnea.
With Dr. Godwin’s modernized technology, he eliminates guesswork and ensures your assessment and treatment are accurate, effective, and beneficial.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
According to the American Sleep Apnea Organization… This text opens a new tab to the American Sleep Apnea Organization website…, 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. But the majority of cases are undiagnosed.
One reason for this may be a lack of information and understanding. So to bridge that gap, we’ve outlined a quick guide on sleep apnea so you can assess yourself for risks and symptoms.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder where your breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout your sleep.
When you stop breathing, your body doesn’t receive its necessary amount of oxygen. As you can imagine, this sleep disorder can become life-threatening.
The different types of sleep apnea
1. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
OSA is the most common type of sleep disorder.
It’s caused when your throat muscles relax and block your airway. You may stop breathing for 10+ seconds, 30+ times per night.
Naturally, when you stop breathing, your brain sends you a signal to resume breathing. This awakening is usually so brief you don’t remember it, but it does impact your sleep cycle.
2. Central sleep apnea (CSA)
CSA occurs when your brain doesn’t correctly signal your muscles that control your breathing. You may awaken with shortness of breath or have a difficult time falling and staying asleep.
3. Mixed/complex sleep apnea
This is a combination of both of the above.
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
Most symptoms of OSA and CSA overlap, so it can be hard to tell which type of sleep apnea you have.
If you show consistent or multiple of the following signs, we recommend seeking a sleep medicine expert for help:
- Loud snoring
- Waking up in the middle of the night
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat upon waking
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Daytime fatigue and drowsiness
- Strong urge to nap during the day
- Irritability, anxiety, or mood swings
- Inability to concentrate or focus
What really causes sleep apnea?
Common risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- A small upper airway
- A large tongue, tonsil, or uvula
- Being overweight
- A recessed chin, small jaw, or large overbite
- A large neck size
- Smoking or alcohol use
- Being over age 40
It’s also noted that men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women.
What happens if sleep apnea is left untreated?
Untreated sleep apnea puts you at risk for:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart failure
- Memory problems
- Worsening of ADHD
- Weight gain
- Job impairment
- Academic underachievement
- Motor vehicle crashes
The good news is sleep apnea doesn’t have to diminish your life any longer.
Schedule a consultation for dental sleep medicine today!
Our sleep medicine dentist is located in Simpsonville, SC and serves surrounding communities, including Woodland Village, Mauldin, and Fountain Inn.
We’re always accepting new patients and referrals!