Diagnosing sleep apnea is a process that takes some time and the ability to evaluate you while you sleep. Generally speaking, this is something that is done by a doctor in a controlled environment. However, dentists can be very instrumental in the diagnosis process. Here is how we, at the Carolina Dental Sleep Center, can help.
Obviously, the major symptom of sleep apnea is when you cease breathing while you are asleep. Although you yourself may not notice this, chances are that your partner will observe it. However, there are other symptoms of sleep apnea that we can look for in making the diagnosis.
When you come to see us for a routine cleaning—or for any other dental procedure—you need to be sure to tell us how you have been sleeping. If you have been waking up with a very dry mouth, headaches in the morning, or an overall lethargic feeling, that can be a sign that we need to look for sleep apnea.
After diagnosing sleep apnea, you will usually be given one of a few different options for treatment. Your specific treatment will depend upon the severity of your sleep apnea, and the cause for the condition.
For many people, treatment is as simple as losing weight, exercising more, and slightly adjusting their diet. For others, it may be necessary to consider minor surgery—this is especially true if a tumor or other growth is causing your sleep apnea.
Sometimes we are able to provide our patients with a dental appliance that they wear while they sleep. This appliance holds the jaw in the correct position to keep the airway open.
If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, please come see us. At Carolina Dental Sleep Center, we are committed to your continued good health!