Learn about the symptoms and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea explained by dentist in Longview, TX

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At the practice of Dr. Clint Bruyere, Longview, TX patients have a wide selection of services available under one roof. Not only does Dr. Bruyere provide quality general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry solutions, he also provides treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Treatment often involves oral appliance therapy and allows patients who have been put on CPAP machines to finally ditch these cumbersome devices for something more comfortable and discreet!

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

Also known as OSA, obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder. The symptoms, as explained by our dentist, Dr. Clint Bruyere, may include some of the following:

  • Chronic snoring
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Periods of time where breathing stops
  • Increased daytime fatigue
  • Increased depression and anxiety
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Chronic headaches

Many of these symptoms can point a primary care physician to obstructive sleep apnea, and to get a proper diagnosis, patients undergo a sleep study. This may be done at home with monitors or in a sleep clinic where patients are monitored throughout the night.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that occurs when the airway is blocked. This can occur due to the tongue falling back into the mouth, excess fat in the neck area, or even from a poorly aligned jaw. In many cases, a physician will advise the patient who has a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea to use a device called a CPAP machine. This has a mask that goes over the patient’s nose and mouth to keep the airways open while they sleep. However, they can be noisy, uncomfortable, and in many cases, patients fail to comply with their treatment. This is when patients are advised to visit their dentist. Instead of using a CPAP machine, patients can improve their condition by using an oral appliance.

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Understanding oral appliance therapy

Oral appliance therapy is a treatment that utilizes a specialized mouth guard to keep the airway open while a patient sleeps. This is necessary to allow them to breathe clearly throughout the night to reach the deeper levels of restorative sleep to feel their best each day. This oral appliance is similar to a mouth guard that the patient wears when they sleep at night. It is discreet and comfortable, ensuring better patient compliance than the CPAP machine. This treatment works for most of our patients who have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Who is a candidate for oral appliance therapy?

Senior woman using cpap machine to stop choking and snoring from obstructive sleep apnea

Any patient who has been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea may be able to utilize oral appliance therapy to treat their condition. We encourage patients who have received a diagnosis to work with our team to decide if treatment with a specialized mouth guard would be beneficial and improve compliance with treatment. Treatment is necessary to help patients improve their overall quality of life, reducing problems such as daytime fatigue, poor memory and concentration, and even increased depression and anxiety. With proper treatment, many patients feel more alive than they ever did before, completely changing their energy levels. For patients who have had the condition for many years without a proper diagnosis, this can be life changing!

How to care for your oral appliance

When patients receive their custom oral appliance, they are also educated on how to care for it. It needs to be cleaned daily to extend its longevity. It also reduces smell that may develop each night when it is worn. When patients return to the dentist for their routine examinations, they should also bring their oral appliance to have it evaluated by the dentist and ensure it still fits properly to function at its best.

Ready to discuss your oral health concerns with a dental professional?

Dr. Clint Bruyere of Longview, TX is a dentist ready to work with patients in his state-of-the-art facility. Contact his practice today at 444 Forest Square, Suite G by calling (903) 708-6116. He encourages patients to work with a dentist they know and trust with their smile, including a professional with years of experience in maintaining patients’ smiles!

 

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