Kavanaugh Dentistry


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How A Dentist Can Assist With Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a growing problem as our awareness and familiarity with the health problems associated with it increases.  Only a physician can diagnose sleep apnea, but your dentist can help identify the signs and symptoms that can lead to diagnosis, as well as assist in treatment once a diagnosis is made.

The most common treatment associated with apnea is the use of continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP.  Most moderate to severe cases require the prescribing of a CPAP machine.  Changes in sleeping position, diet, smoking cessation, and weight loss may also be recommended.  The fabrication of a dental appliance that repositions the jaw, tongue, and soft tissue can be a great addition to treatment for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea or those who cannot tolerate a CPAP.  The dental appliance looks like two mouthguards that can be attached together to help open the airway. The appliance is custom fit to the patient's teeth and mouth and is typically adjustable to allow movement to maximize airway opening. Dr. Kavanaugh has fitted many patients with these appliances with very positive results.

People with sleep apnea may have no recollection of apnea events or waking up in the night.  Common signs of sleep apnea may include:

  • Headaches upon waking
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Irritability and impaired functioning
  • Excessive snoring or gasping during sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
  • Your significant other may be the first to notice

Sleep apnea can be a dangerous condition if untreated.  If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, contact us as soon as possible at (317) 846-7700. We can work with your physician to coordinate your treatment.