How to Treat Sleep Apnea

Serving patients of Erwin, Jonesborough, and Greeneville, TN

Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? If so, seek treatment from a medical professional like the Greeneville sleep apnea dentists at Tusculum Dental Care, because your life could depend on it. Sleep apnea can jeopardize your life, as long-term sufferers of the disease face a much higher susceptibility to certain chronic and systemic ailments.

Tusculum Dental Care practices sleep apnea dentistry, a specialization that focuses on identifying and treating sleep apnea by addressing the root cause—the airway issue that impedes or interrupts your breathing. Let’s take a deeper look at how we use the principles of sleep apnea dentistry to provide relief and promote deep, restful sleep to our patients without using a CPAP machine.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

It can be difficult for even expertly trained medical professionals to make a correct diagnosis of a case of sleep apnea. For example, in children and adolescents, the symptoms of sleep apnea often can mimic those of a hyperactivity disorder such as ADD or ADHD.

Sleep apnea dentists, however, have particular training revolving around healthy airways. At Tusculum Dental Care, your Jonesborough sleep apnea dentist can perform an airway evaluation to identify if a sleep breathing disorder exists. This is a simple, pain-free examination where the airway is examined to determine if it is vulnerable to or experiencing a blockage.

Tusculum Dental Care also may conduct a sleep study. This procedure can be done in the convenience of your own bedroom. You will be sent home from our office with a machine and several sensors to be worn on your body, monitoring your breathing and other vital signs while you sleep. A sleep apnea dentist has the training to read this data and determine if a disorder such as sleep apnea is present.

Before any treatment begins for sleep apnea, your sleep apnea dentist should construct a treatment plan that considers factors such as:

  • The severity of your sleep apnea
  • Any other oral health problems that may complicate sleep apnea treatment
  • Your medical history

Why we do not use CPAP

One of the tried-and-true standards of sleep apnea treatment is the use of CPAP. Standing for continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP is a machine that, through the use of a mask that is worn during sleep, helps maintain an open airway throughout the night by forcing air into the collapsed airways.

Despite its widespread use, CPAP often causes issues when it comes time to the real-life application of this treatment method. Many patients tolerate CPAP so poorly that they either stop using the machine or refuse to begin using it in the first place. This is the worst decision you can make, as this only allows a case of sleep apnea to progress.

Frequently reported complaints regarding CPAP include:

  • General discomfort
  • Skin irritation and rashes caused by wearing the mask
  • Dry mouth and/or throat
  • Problems sleeping, either for the patient or their sleeping partner, due to the noise that is emitted by the CPAP machine
  • Impediment of intimacy
  • Feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness caused by wearing the apparatus
  • Highly cumbersome while traveling
  • Inconvenient to maintain

Even if CPAP is not right for you that does not mean you should abstain from seeking professional medical treatment for your sleep apnea. In fact, only treatment from a qualified medical professional will resolve a serious sleep breathing disorder like sleep apnea. Failing to seek treatment only exacerbates a case of sleep apnea, also increasing the risk of chronic, systemic, and life-threatening health ailments including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression.

Click here to learn more about how sleep loss can affect your life.

Oral Appliance Therapy

At Tusculum Dental Care, we prefer to treat sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy. These oral appliances look and feel similar to the mouthpieces and night guards you see available for purchase over the counter, although our custom-made versions are of much higher quality and are more effective. Each oral appliance used at Tusculum Dental Care serves as a mandibular advancement appliance, which guides the lower jaw into its ideal forward resting position. Once the jaw has been positioned, you achieve the preferred oral resting posture—with lips together, teeth together, and tongue resting gently against the roof of the mouth—which then helps maintain an open airway throughout sleep. In short, oral appliance therapy works because it treats sleep apnea by treating the root cause of the disorder—the airway problem.

Our oral appliances are a cut above the store-bought options. Each of our oral appliances is custom-made from digital impressions of your mouth and teeth. This guarantees a comfortable, snug, effective fit.

Sleep Apnea Screening in Greeneville

Have any questions about sleep apnea? Click here, or if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or want to be screened to see if you suffer from this sleep breathing disorder, call the office of Tusculum Dental Care at (423) 639-7575 to schedule a consultation.

Tusculum Dental Care is proud to serve the needs of patients in the areas of Greeneville, Jonesborough, and Erwin, Tennessee.