Sleep apnea, a breathing disorder, is far more common than you might think. It is (not so) quietly lurking in an estimated 22 million Americans, and can lead to many associated diseases. But did you know that the best way to diagnose and treat sleep apnea is close at hand? A prominent Virginia Beach dentist is leading the way toward treatment of this serious condition, not only saving marriages but lives too.

If you are wondering what your dentist has got to do with sleep apnea treatment, here are some interesting facts about the disorder and its treatment.

Sleep apnea can be a lethal disease if left untreated

If you have the slightest symptoms associated with an obstructive sleep apnea disorder you cannot afford to ignore them because they can develop into several chronic and even life-threatening conditions. These include a high buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood, abnormal heart rhythm, respiratory hypertension, and even heart failure.

Sleep apnea disorder involves the oral cavity

The best place to discover a sleep apnea disorder could just be the dental chair. As you recline in your dentist’s chair, you relax and fall asleep, and may begin to snore. That’s the first sign of a pre-existing obstructive sleep apnea condition. The dentist will recognize this symptom, and begin diagnostic tests to confirm the prognosis, and offer treatment. As any dentist will tell you, obstructive sleep apnea occurs because of the peculiar configuration of the patient’s oral cavity, which is familiar territory for a dentist.

Heavy snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea

Snoring can hardly be regarded as a disease because it is commonplace and nothing to raise eyebrows about. Doesn’t everyone snore softly when they are sleeping? Perhaps. But when you snore loudly and continuously, it could be a sign of a sleep apnea disorder. When this is a noticeably chronic malady, it is best not to ignore it. Instead, take the time to visit your dentist, who will use a non-invasive apparatus to conduct a sleep study to record your brain, eye, and breathing activity while you sleep.

The relationship between dentistry and sleep apnea

When your dentist recommends a sleep study, it is imperative any ensuing treatment be calibrated and customized for the patient. Because certain drugs and procedures can aggravate pre-existing sleep apnea, or even precipitate sleep apnea disorders, be sure to share with your dentist any medications you might be using.

Awareness about the treatment procedure

While sleep apnea can be treated by invasive surgeries, these should be considered as a last resort, because many patients can experience effective treatment and relief simply through the use of an oral device. Your dentist will advise which treatment path will work best for you.

There is a misconception that sleep apnea is associated only with obesity. But there are many facets of this chronic and sometimes fatal disease that need to be understood by patients and great care taken to determine the optimal course of treatment. Consult your dentist, who will help with proper diagnosis and treatment.