Sleep dentistry is altering the way patients with sleep disorders are treated by their doctors. Habitually, sleep apnoea has been always treated by MDs, neurologists or pulmonologists, but now dentists are focusing their attention on how they will be able to help their patients who snore and yet be able to get a good night’s sleep.
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), when patients are diagnosed as sleep apnoeic, they are offered a treatment that comprises of a machine being used that places a mask that allows the breathing to be monitored by a tube while sleeping. The other alternative that such patients could be given was surgery.
However, nowadays dentists have started treating sleep apnoeic patients because they understand how the face, jaw and the teeth and their position can influence a patient’s airway and breathing patterns. Many dentists offer oral sleep apnoea and anti-snoring devices to help patients. This works out to be the best of options for patients who don’t want to consider surgery as a treatment option for themselves.
Almost all dentists have started investigating snoring disorders in their patients according to Dr Lisa Shives, a sleep physician who authored an article about snoring for CNN Health. If patients do speak about sleep disorders and snoring then most of them are recommended treatment that includes the use of an oral appliance.
Sleep apnoea awareness has grown steadily. The latest findings suggest that loud snorers are ten times more likely to get atherosclerosis. These findings have inspired doctors and dentists to seek treatment methods for apnoea.
Dentists certainly have the right kind of opportunity to be able to bridge the gap and offer their patients the right kind of advice for sleep apnoea according to Dr Don Lowrance, who practises in Corpus Christi, USA. All that a dentist needs to do is to ask a few relevant questions to help patients with their sleep patterns. It could be a simple question, but by asking it, dentists are actually saving lives in the dental office.