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Patients with sleep apnea are left feeling tired, irritable and unable to concentrate effectively. Poor overall performance and quality of life are not the only side effects of a sleep disorder, which can make a patient at risk for many medical conditions. In addition to medical/dental treatment, losing weight can help to alleviate symptoms as fat that has accumulated around your face and neck often contributes to the blocked airways.
If a medical specialist (Pulmonologist) diagnoses a sleep disorder after a sleep study has been performed, the physician may prescribe the use of a medical device called a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) that pumps air into the lungs. The physician may also advise seeing a dentist who has received training in treating this condition.
For those patients who have both TMJ/TMD and a sleep disorder, treatment by a neuromuscularly trained dentist can combine daytime use of a TMD appliance with night time use of a sleep appliance, to optimally treat both conditions.
Dental sleep appliances are not night guards, typically given to patients who clench or grind their teeth while sleeping. They are specifically designed to move the jaw forwards during sleep, advancing the tongue and increasing the airway for better breathing.