Snoring and sleep apnea are two of the most common sleep-related breathing disorders. If you or someone you know snores, you might not think of visiting the dentist for treatment. The position of the jaws and related structures influences the development of sleep apnea, making the dentist a key professional in the diagnosis and treatment for select cases. Columbia, MD area dentist Dr. Ray Becker treats snoring and sleep apnea using custom made removable oral appliances. These special dental devices fit comfortably in the mouth and are worn while you sleep to keep the airway open and prevent snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
Snoring by itself is generally not a health problem; however it can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 50% of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Patients who suffer with OSA repeatedly stop breathing while they sleep.
There is no single cause for snoring or sleep apnea. Often times snoring is made worse by drinking, smoking or using sedatives. Patients who are overweight are also more likely to snore or suffer from sleep apnea. The prevalence of sleep apnea increases with age and it is estimated that as many as 50% of elderly men and women suffer from the disorder.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Diagnosing a sleep-related breathing disorder such as OSA typically involves the dentist as well as the patient’s physician and/or other specialists. The medical team may use diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, to examine the airway and look for signs of blockage. A sleep study may also be recommended to evaluate the quality of sleep.
When you visit Dr. Becker at his Columbia, MD dentist office, he will review your medical history and discuss some of the signs that could indicate a sleep breathing disorder. Common signs include:
- Daytime sleepiness and the tendency to fall asleep while reading, watching television or driving
- Loud snoring
- Gasping while sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Problems with concentration, mood and mental clarity
Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treatment for OSA will vary based on the individual diagnosis. Certain lifestyle changes can help to alleviate the symptoms of OSA including weight loss, smoking cessation and eliminating alcohol and sedative use.
While the CPAP is considered the gold standard for treating OSA, oral appliance therapy has shown to be the preferred treatment among most patients. An oral appliance is small, discreet and comfortable to wear, resulting in better compliance and better results. Columbia, MD dentist, Dr. Becker can fabricate a custom made sleep apnea appliance for you to wear during sleep.
Schedule a Consultation
Dr. Becker offers his patients treatment for snoring and sleep apnea in the Columbia, MD and Ellicott City, MD area. With his advanced training and certification, he can provide lasting relief from snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. Call today to schedule an appointment!