Why the Dentist Could Be the Key To Better Sleep

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Sleep is a vital component of overall health and well-being. Sleep allows the body to rest, repair, and ready itself for another day, and the price for not getting enough sleep can be poor health. In fact, poor sleep has been linked to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as increased illness duration.

However, quality sleep continues to evade many Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared insufficient sleep a public health problem, with 1 in 3 adults not getting enough sleep regularly.

But it’s not for lack of trying. Consumer reports show that people are willing to spend money in their search for quality sleep, from smart mattresses and weighted blankets to essential oils and herbal teas and everything in between.

But the key to better sleep may be the dentist.

Sleep disorders are a significant health issue in the U.S., which is why the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), and American Dental Association (ADA) have declared that dentists have an important role in the screening, testing, and treatment of sleep disorders. It is estimated that 25 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and 80% of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. The breathing interruptions (apneas) are caused by tissue collapses of the airway that prevents oxygen from reaching the lungs and can occur 30 times or more an hour. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea, but there is also central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea, also referred to as treatment-emergent sleep apnea.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Frequent and loud snoring
  • Episodes of reduced or absent breathing (typically reported by another person)
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Waking up with dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Difficulty paying attention or concentrating

Sleep apnea is a progressive disorder and a proactive — rather than a reactive — approach is best and can reduce the risk of permanent damage.

The first step toward better sleep is to get tested. Capital Dental Group provides a home sleep testing system that allows patients to sleep in the comfort of their own beds. The home sleep testing system is chest-worn for natural sleep in any position. The sleep tests are then analyzed by a board-certified sleep specialist for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Obstructive sleep apnea is recognized by the medical community as a chronic medical condition that can have serious medical consequences. Positive airway pressure (PAP) is an efficient form of therapy, but many patients are unable to tolerate PAP or are unwilling to use it on a long-term basis. It is estimated that up to 83% of CPAP patients do not wear their device.

For many patients, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is an effective alternative. Oral appliances look like mouth guards worn in sports and work by adjusting the position of the jaw during sleep to open up the airway. The fabrication of an OAT device and its implementation should only be done by a qualified dentist.

The benefits of an OAT device include:

  • Better sleep
  • Less snoring (can improve the sleep of bed partner)
  • Comfortable
  • Travel friendly
  • Improved daytime function
  • Easy to use

Better sleep is well within reach. And it starts with a conversation with your dentist.

Voted a favorite for “Best Dentist” and “Best Medium-Large Business” in the 2021 Best Of Kern poll, Capital Dental Group is a full-service dental office committed to the overall health and well-being of its patients, whether it be a healthy smile or a good night’s sleep. Schedule an appointment today!