How can a dentist help with obstructive sleep apnea?

sleep apnea | Heather F. Fleschler, DDSPatients in Houston, TX who have been diagnosed by their primary doctor with obstructive sleep apnea are welcome to book a visit with Dr. Heather F. Fleschler and her dental team. While most patients don’t think about seeing their dentist for a sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea can be addressed with the use of an oral appliance.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Dr. Heather F. Fleschler describes obstructive sleep apnea as a sleeping disorder caused by blockages in the airways as an individual sleeps. The blockage may be caused by excess fat in the neck area causing the airways to collapse, or by the tongue falling back into the throat. The symptoms of this condition include airway blockages sometimes hundreds of times in one night, chronic headaches and dry throat upon waking, and the physical inability to breathe while sleeping. Some patients don’t even know they have the condition until it is brought to their attention from their sleeping partner. With a proper diagnosis, most doctors recommend the use of a CPAP machine at night when sleeping. However, this large and uncomfortable machine can be cumbersome. It is not easy to travel with. Many CPAP patients will not comply with treatment and therefore see the return of their obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.

How can a dentist help with obstructive sleep apnea?

Instead of having to use a CPAP machine, patients can visit their dentist to ask about oral appliance therapy. A specialized mouthguard can be made for a patient to wear at night when they sleep. This oral appliance is custom-made for proper fit and premium comfort. The appliance holds the tongue down and opens the airway, eliminating the need for CPAP treatment. This is another viable alternate sleep apnea treatment. This mouthguard can also help if patients have coexisting conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, that can often occur alongside obstructive sleep apnea.

Learn about sleep apnea treatment options available with your dentist

Dr. Heather F. Fleschler of Houston, TX is here to help patients in the community with their dental health needs, including viable solutions for obstructive sleep apnea. If your primary care physician has diagnosed you with obstructive sleep apnea or TMJ/TMD, we welcome you to our practice to discuss the benefits of oral appliance therapy as an effective, affordable, and comfortable solution!

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