I’ve always had a problem with snoring. I recently brought this up at my annual physical, and my physician started asking me a lot of questions about it, then said he thinks that I might have sleep apnea. I had never heard of that before, and now all of a sudden it seems like every other ad on TV is about sleep apnea appliances.
What are these appliances? The ads say to ask your dentist about them, but my doctor has me set up to go to a sleep clinic for diagnosis, and hasn’t said a word about getting my dentist involved. Should I set up an appointment for myself? The appliances sound like such a simple solution.
Thank for for your advice,
Bill in Wichita, KS
You should continue to follow the directives of your primary care physician for sleep apnea treatment. He is following standard diagnostic protocol for suspected sleep apnea, and most ethical dentists would not fit you with a sleep apnea appliance without confirmation of a diagnosis from a sleep specialist.
It is important to determine the level of severity of your sleep apnea. If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, the gold standard of treatment is a CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine. If your sleep apnea is determined to be mild to moderate, or if for some reason you cannot wear a CPAP, then your doctor might work with an experienced dentist to fit you with an oral appliance that will hold your jaw and mouth in the correct position while you sleep.
It may also be the case that you do not have sleep apnea at all, and are merely in need of snoring treatment. In that case, an experienced dentist can help you acquire a custom fit appliance to alleviate your snoring.
This blog is maintained as a courtesy of the office of York cosmetic dentist Dr. Currie.