While you may not conncet your MA dentist with sleep apnea, the two go hand in hand. Obstructive sleep apnea is, according to the American Dental Association,  characterized by recurrent narrowing or collapse of the upper airway during sleep, resulting in partial or complete cessation of airflow despite the continued respiratory effort. Of course, there are several risk factors associated with the condition. 

Here, the experts from Prime Smile Dental Group delve into the subject and how your trusted dentist can help.


What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes recurring, interrupted breathing of at least ten seconds during sleep. However, like anything, there are different types of sleep apnea. 

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the more common form of the disorder, occurring when the throat muscles relax.
  • Central Sleep Apnea happens if the brain does not send the right signals to the muscles controlling your breathing. 
  • Complex Sleep Apnea, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, is a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea. 


How does a MA dentist diagnose sleep apnea?

At Prime Smile Dental Group, our journey with the patient begins with a review of the medical and dental histories. We discuss signs and symptoms and then proceed with one of two diagnostic plans.

  • Nocturnal Polysomnography is the first technique requiring the patient to be monitored overnight in a facility. Specialists monitor the heart, lungs, brain activity, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels, and arm and leg movements for irregular activity/patterns.
  • Home Sleep Tests are also available for a simplified process. These tests measure the heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow, and breathing patterns.


Treatment Options

Once diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are various treatment options available. If working with your trusted MA dentist, you can expect them to collaborate with your PCP and sleep specialist. At Prime Smile Dental Group, there are two primary devices available to address the condition.

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices look similar to mouthguards and orthopedic retainers. These devices snap over the upper and lower dental arches, pushing your lower jaw and tongue forward. This technique prevents your throat muscles from collapsing back into your airways and allows you to breathe normally while asleep.
  • Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces are similar in structure to MADs but have a small compartment that fits around your tongue. This compartment uses suction to keep the tongue forward, preventing it from collapsing back into the airway. Often, this device is used for patients who cannot have their jaw repositioned.


Schedule an appointment with your MA dentist to discuss sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that, if left untreated, could lead to more serious and complicated issues. If you believe that sleep apnea is something you experience, please contact your trusted MA dentist or PCP to discuss your options. To speak with one of the professionals at Prime Smile Group, please call 508-481-8094.

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