Defining Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders individuals deal with. It’s a condition that is caused by a blocked airway, leading to various symptoms such as snoring, choking, and insomnia. Sleep apnea may be caused by various other things such as problems with your jaw, obesity, sleeping on your back, or consumption of certain medication or alcohol before bedtime.
At Progressive Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the consequences sleep apnea can have on daily rest and future health. Over the years, our Glen Mills sleep specialist has worked closely with patients to create personalized treatment plans that help regain a good night’s rest.
The Trouble with Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Despite sleep apnea being a common sleep disorder, a number of people go undiagnosed and therefore, have not received any treatment to alleviate their discomfort. Lack of treatment and diagnosis occurs because sleep apnea is difficult to identify in the first place.
Because sleep apnea occurs while patients are asleep, few realize that they are not breathing while they sleep or that they are waking up frequently throughout the night. In many cases, it is a partner, family member, or roommate that hears the deep snoring or choking and tells the patient about their sleeping habits.
A physician might also miss signs of sleep apnea while treating their patients for other symptoms. Often, people only visit the doctor when they feel ill, limiting a doctor’s ability to diagnose cases of sleep apnea. A dentist is more likely to detect signs of sleep apnea in a patient while doing a routine dental check-up. This usually occurs because people generally have more contact with their dentists than their physician throughout the year.
Sleep Apnea Screening at Progressive Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Our Glen Mills team is uniquely trained and experienced in identifying sleep apnea in our patients. During your routine cleaning every six months, we’ll evaluate your teeth, mouth, and jaw for signs that sleep apnea might be affecting your rest. If Dr. McCoy suspects your snoring or bruxism is being caused by this breathing condition, we’ll provide you with an easy-to-use overnight pulse-oximeter test, which will analyze your heart rate and blood oxygen levels as you sleep. If the results suggest you have sleep apnea, we’ll share this test with your physician, who will typically order a sleep test to make an official diagnosis.
Explore Sleep Apnea Treatments
Treatments for sleep apnea vary depending on the individual and the type of sleep apnea diagnosed. In some cases, treatment may be as simple as changing behavioral habits such as weight loss. However, other treatments include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliance therapy, surgery, and positional therapy.
At Progressive Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. McCoy works in close collaboration with your physician to find the best solution for your case of sleep apnea. While CPAP is often recommended as the best treatment, some patients are not able to tolerate this treatment. In these instances, our Glen Mills dentist can provide you with a custom-made oral appliance for snoring and sleep apnea.
If you believe you may have sleep apnea, give us a call at Progressive Family and Cosmetic Dentistry and set up a consultation with Dr. McCoy. We’re here to help! Call today!