At Harford County Dentistry, we specialize in comprehensive oral health care. That’s why we offer services in airway dentistry, related to sleep disorders that can have oral symptoms. Here, we can show you how oral appliance therapy can help you deal with sleep apnea in Fallston, MD.
What is Sleep Apnea?
During sleep, the soft tissue and muscles at the back of the throat may collapse or relax too much. This stops your breathing momentarily, usually causing you to snore or wake up gasping for air. Stopping your breathing, even for a moment, can lead to deprivation of oxygen to your brain and other organs.
Sleep apnea can also lead to various issues that can impact your daily life. Even though you got a full night’s sleep, you may wake up feeling tired and lethargic. This can cause you to be distracted and irritable. If it gets bad enough, you may even fall asleep while driving or during other important tasks.
In the long run, sleep apnea can be quite harmful to your body. It can lead to an increased chance of having a stroke, developing cancer, or dying. It also messes with brain function, impacting two crucial chemicals in the brain.
Should I Get a Sleep Study?
To diagnose sleep apnea, Dr. Melissa Elliot will perform an at-home sleep study. You’ll have a kit to take home with instructions on how to administer the study. It will then be analyzed by a certified sleep physician. Based on the results, Dr. Elliott will move forward with a treatment plan. If you have a milder form of sleep apnea, she’ll use oral appliance therapy.
Oral Appliance Therapy
For oral appliance therapy, Dr. Elliott will use a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). This is similar to a mouthguard and will be worn while you sleep to prevent the collapse of those tissues in the back of your throat.
Each MAD is customized to the individual case. Impressions of your mouth and bite are taken to make sure that the MAD fits comfortably. The goal is for it to minimize or completely eliminate sleep apnea symptoms. We also want it to be comfortable enough for you to sleep and not be disturbed.
After you use the MAD for a while, we’ll recommend completing another at-home sleep study. We want to make sure that the device is working as optimally as possible. You should be able to breathe comfortably and sleep through the night. If we notice you’re still struggling with symptoms, we’ll make adjustments to the device.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Fallston, Maryland
Dr. Elliott provides screenings for certain symptoms of sleep disorders during your routine dental visits. If she notices something, she may recommend you for a sleep test. If you find yourself struggling with snoring or feeling fatigued, call us today or schedule an appointment online for a sleep study!