Treatment of Sleep Apnea – role of a dentist

Treatment of Sleep Apnea – role of a dentist

Sleep apnea is a long term condition where people do not breathe at different times during their sleep cycles.

It’s moreover a sleep disorder, where the breathing gets interrupted and tends to rouse you from your sleep. The common discomfort along with sleep apnea are loud snoring, feeling tired, not getting enough sleep, and inadequate oxygen.

Types Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea is mainly classified into

  • Central sleep apnea
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Complex sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea: Mostly, Obstructive sleep apnea is a common one, in which the airway’s soft tissue get collapsed, thereby it prevents oxygen from entering into the lungs. It is usually normal when it comes to chronic asthmatic patients.

Central Sleep apnea: It happens when, the brain stops sending message or signals to the body to inhale oxygen, there-by some interruptions breaks the breathing cycle. But, there is no other physical obstruction as such. Only the breathing got collapsed with the instability of respiratory controls.

Both apnea is disruptive to sleep patterns, so the person does not wake up fresh in the morning. He/she feels tired and lethargic. Left untreated this can affect both mental and physical health in the long run.

Sleep apnea leads to a lot of chronic conditions like depression, mood disorders, heart disease, mania, and bipolar disorders. Diabetes and high blood pressure gets aggravating some times. If untreated chronic fatigue sets in, and such people are more lethargic and prone to accidents easily.

Complex Sleep Apnea: Added complex category under sleep apnea is Complex sleep apnea. It’s also called as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This is a rare case of experiencing both the central and obstruct sleep apnea at the same time.

Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

Central and obstruct have similar symptom, so it’s difficult to determine the type. Several testing needed to categories them. But the common symptoms are

  • Snoring loudly
  • Irregular breathing during sleep
  • Gasping for Oxygen
  • Choking and snorting
  • Restless sleep
  • Using the bathroom frequently in night
  • Dry mouth and sore throat because of breathing with mouth
  • Hangover or headache in the morning
  • Difficult to sleep or insomnia or recurrent awakenings
  • Instead of having hypersomnia or excessive sleeping in the daytime
  • Irritability, forgetfulness, Lack of interest
  • Lack of energy, concentration and inactive daytime

How both the types of Sleep Apnea Occurs?

It doesn’t mean that the people who snore must have sleep apnea. But it can be one of the main reason. Let’s look at how sleep apnea occurs.

Obstruct Sleep Apnea

There is a muscle in the back of our throat, that usually supports the tonsils, soft palate, the sidewalls and tongue. So, when these muscles get relaxed or collapsed, the airflow gets narrowed and stops the airflow. Now you won’t receive enough oxygen to your body, which is instantly sensed by the brain. Since the breathing is collapsed, you awake from your sleep. You might also gasp choke and snore. It could repeat from 5 to 30 minutes or every hour. You have a night of restless sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea

It’s not a common case that when our brain fails to transmit the signals to the breathing muscles. Then it manages to short breathing, difficult to sleep or leaves you restless and awake.

How the Sleep apnea diagnosis takes place?

In a sleep centre lap, the patient is set to go for a sleeping condition. The doctors monitor the physical, brain, nerve, breathing activities of your body with some hooked up equipment. According to the relevant sign & symptoms, the doctors undergo the sleep apnea diagnosis and tests, which can otherwise be called polysomnoseum. It performs with multiple components testing in which the activities are analyzed and recorded.

Examining the entire move and functional activities of a person during their sleep, can give some clarity on the result and combined with an ideal solution. If they conclude the diagnosis with sleep apnea, then they need to progress forward for further testings for better treatment.

Children suffering from sleep apnea

The obstructive sleep apnea is common with the children. It signs you with symptoms like,

  • Irregular breathing, gasping and snorting
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Improper sleep position
  • Behavioural changes etc.

Once you suspect the changes from your child, take them to a pediatrician as soon as possible and start the treatment, If not it affects the growth of your child’s health in future.

Sleep apnea increases the risk factors

Sleep apnea can happen to from children to adult, but required treatments to be given at the right time to neglect the risk.

  • Obesity: Presence of excessive fat will obstruct the airway
  • Thick neck: The bigger size of your neck narrows the airways
  • Narrowed and thin airway: Presence of tonsils, adenoids will block the air.
  • Being Male: Sleep apnea occurs in men than in women.
  • Being Old: It occurs mostly to the old aged people.
  • Family history: Genetics play a significant role, It grows the risk
  • Consuming alcohol and smoking: the alcohol or smoke will collapse the throat muscles, so it increases the risk.
  • Nasal congestion: Allergies, sinus and anatomical problems develop the risk of having sleep apnea
  • Heart disorder: Person undergone heart disorder have the risk
  • Narcotic pain medications

Effects of Sleep Apnea

If the sleep apnea is left untreated, then here are the risky disease accompanies them

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure and heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent Headaches
  • Depression and more

How the dentist plays a role in sleep apnea treatment?

Dentist can play a significant role in the treatment of sleep apnea. After consulting a physician, a visit to a dental office will help in the advancement of treatment.

We need to incorporate some beneficial lifestyle change, Alternating the sleeping position, losing your weight to reach a normal weight, quitting the bad habits etc.

There are different kinds of treatments available according to the complications.

Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP)

It is recommended to wear a mask while sleeping, which connects to a machine, that regulates the airflow and helps to breathe conveniently. It is one of the common and effective treatment for sleep apnea.

Similarly, another treatment referred to as Bi-level positive airway pressure (BPAP). When CPAP doesn’t support this treatment is advice. Here the airflow here is regulated during inhale and exhale and adjust the pressure of airflow by itself according to your breath.

Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV), this treatment helps both obstructive and central sleep apnea, as it stores the information about the regular breathing patterns. It adjusts the pressure of airflow automatically.

Oral appliances

Particularly dental devices named tongue retaining device, mandibular advancement device and few more could able to keep up breathing airway while sleeping. Special dental expertise or professional would exclusively design it for you.

Dentist can recommend oral appliances in the lower jaw that look like mouth-guards. It helps to push the lower jaw forward, thereby preventing collapse of the obstructive muscles during sleep. On prolonged wearing, these appliances can tighten the muscles and prevent airway obstruction.

Dentist assesses the patient’s mouth and decide the appliances based on their needs. They are usually tolerated well by the patient, as they wear them during the night to have a comfortable sleep. Tongue retainers are not very commonly used, but they are used in appropriate patients to hold the tongue back, which gives more way for air to flow in and out during sleep.

Proper fit of the appliance is mandatory, so the dentists take measurements with teeth models for their processing. They also do regular follow-ups to assess the patient on signs of improvement. Regular monitoring and proper adjustment gets the best result in such cases.

Sleep apnea implants

The new technological treatment available for severe obstructive sleep apnea. This work with the pacemaker inserted which regulated the normal breathing during sleep.


In some conditions like enlarged tonsil’s, jaw overbite divested nasal spectrum and narrowed throat. Immediately, it is advisable to take up surgery to improve the health condition. Tonsillectomy, Maxillary or jaw advancement, Tracheotomy and few more are the available surgical treatments in the list to help.

Advantages of sleep apnea appliances:

Sleep apnea oral appliances are especially helpful in obstructive apnea to train and tighten the muscles that are collapsing and obstructing the airway during sleep. They are comfortable to wear and removable.

Regular monitoring is required and, they yield good results. They are much more affordable than the continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) that are usually used to treat sleep apnea.

Are you worried about your obstructive sleep apnea or snoring habits? Please consult your nearby specialist, or do visit us for a consultation at Oris Dental Center

For enquiries and clarifications book an appointment with us at Oris Dental Center

General Dentistry
Phone Call
Whatsapp Chat