Information for Dentists
Role of the Dentist in the management of Snoring and Mild to Moderate Sleep Apnea.
Management of snoring and "sleep disturbances" using dental appliances is a growth industry. Appliances are simple to make, are universally effective and non-invasive.
Dentists see more patients more frequently than do most health care practitioners and look in the mouth and down the throat of every patient they see.
It is easy for a dentist to observe tell tale signs of snoring/sleep apnea. Size of the tongue, soft palate, u vulva, tonsils, tonsilar pillars, anatomical obstructions. Also look for signs of chronic snoring; presence of pharyngeal edema or abnormal redness.
An astute observer may also notice behavior indicative of sleepiness or fatigue; lethargy, yawning, sighing, slouching, drooping eyelids.
Asking the patient very specific questions can also help to confirm snoring/sleep apnea.
- Have you ever been told you snore.
- Do you fall asleep at meetings, watching TV, or reading.
- Do you feel tired when you wake in the morning or have headaches.
- Do you feel tired and listless during the day.
Depending on your assessment of the answers you may decide to send the patient to see a Respiratory/Sleep Specialist.
With Dental Oral Appliances being increasingly accepted as an alternative to conventional therapies and CPAP. The role of the Dentist as part of an overall multidicinplinary team is also increasing.