You may not even know that you have sleep apnea.

Does your significant other say that you snore heavily, only to stop breathing suddenly throughout the night? Are you often sleepy during the day and never feel truly rested, despite getting a full night’s sleep? These could be signs of sleep apnea, a disorder during which your breathing pauses or becomes very shallow multiple times throughout the night due to obstruction in your airway. Believe it or not, your Burleson dentist is often your first line of defence in treating and managing this condition!

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What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. These interruptions can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur hundreds of times in one night, leading to fragmented sleep and lowered oxygen levels in the blood.

The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open, despite efforts to breathe. Symptoms often include loud snoring, choking sounds, excessive daytime sleepiness, and morning headaches.

It’s essential to address sleep apnea not only for improved sleep quality but also because untreated cases can lead to a range of health complications, including hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s recommended to seek medical attention. In some instances, treatments may involve dental devices, so consulting with a dentist in Burleson, TX can provide further insight and potential solutions.

The Big Deal About Sleep Apnea

Many people don’t know that they have sleep apnea, and even think it is harmless, but the disorder can cause low blood oxygen levels and even a severe form of congestive heart failure. New discoveries in technology show that modern dental appliances can not only ease the symptoms of sleep apnea but also help to ensure a full night of sleep and a longer healthier life.

Sleep Apnea Treatment At Legacy Dental

Example of an oral appliance for sleep apnea in Burleson, TX

The gold standard therapy for sleep apnea is wearing a C-PAP, but many people are intolerant to wearing the device. Studies show that sufferers with mild to moderate sleep apnea can benefit just as well with an oral appliance. An oral appliance is also prescribed when a severe sleep apnea sufferer refuses to wear a C-PAP.

Dental professionals play a crucial role in the evaluation and treatment of certain types of sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Here’s a breakdown of the process a patient can expect when being evaluated and treated for sleep apnea by our Burleson dentist:

  1. Initial Consultation:
    • The patient discusses symptoms with our dentists, such as snoring, daytime fatigue, or observed breathing interruptions during sleep.
    • Dr. Barroso or Dr. Magers will review the patient’s medical history and might ask questions about sleep patterns, frequency of waking up during the night, and daytime sleepiness.
  2. Oral Examination:
    • The dentist examines the patient’s mouth, throat, and jaw to identify any anatomical factors that could contribute to sleep apnea, such as a recessed chin, enlarged tongue, or tonsils.
  3. Referral for Sleep Study:
    • If the dentist suspects sleep apnea, they might refer the patient for a polysomnogram, or sleep study, typically conducted at a sleep center. Some patients might qualify for a home sleep test.
    • The study will monitor various body functions during sleep, including brain electrical activity, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, air flow, and blood oxygen levels.
  4. Diagnosis:
    • Once the results from the sleep study are available, a sleep physician will provide a diagnosis.
    • If OSA is diagnosed, its severity will be determined, which will influence the treatment approach.
  5. Dental Device Recommendation:
    • For mild to moderate OSA, and in cases where CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy isn’t tolerated, our dentists may recommend an oral appliance or dental device.
    • These devices resemble mouthguards and work by repositioning the lower jaw and tongue to keep the airway open.
  6. Fitting of the Oral Appliance:
    • If an oral appliance is deemed appropriate, the dentist will take impressions of the patient’s teeth.
    • The custom-made device will be fabricated, and once ready, the patient returns for a fitting.
    • Our dentist in Burleson will adjust the appliance to maximize its effectiveness and comfort.
  7. Follow-up Appointments:
    • The patient will have follow-up visits to ensure the device fits correctly and is alleviating symptoms.
    • Adjustments can be made if necessary.
  8. Long-term Care:
    • Regular dental check-ups will be needed to ensure the continued effectiveness of the device, assess its condition, and confirm it isn’t causing any bite or jaw issues.
    • Lifestyle modifications will also be discussed as sleep apnea treatment is often holistic. If the patient is overweight, proper nutrition and exercise will be discussed to reduce the patient’s BMI. Our dentists will also make suggestions regarding limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking or vaping.
  9. Continuous Communication:
    • It’s essential for the patient to maintain communication with both their dentist and sleep physician, reporting any concerns or changes in symptoms.

It’s worth noting that while dental devices can be effective for some individuals, they aren’t suitable for everyone. It’s crucial to have a multidisciplinary approach to sleep apnea treatment, involving both dental professionals and sleep medicine specialists.

Will Insurance Cover Sleep Apnea Treatment?

Our Legacy Dental office team will submit all treatment and testing to your medical and dental insurance. Insurances are increasingly helping with the costs of these treatments and tests. Some of our patients do, however, choose to pay for it out-of-pocket so as to avoid the raising of insurance premiums once they see that testing has been done for sleep apnea. Whichever method you chose to use, we will file all the necessary paperwork so that you get the best benefit available to you.

Find Relief From Sleep Apnea in Burleson, TX

If you want to get evaluated for sleep apnea, schedule your consultation with us today! Please remember to fill out all the required patient forms before your visit in order to save time during the appointment.


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