Loud snoring can be disruptive, not only for the person snoring, but for other family members as well. And while snoring may not sound like anything more than an annoyance, sometimes it’s an indication of a much more serious problem called OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This condition occurs when a person’s airway is partially blocked while sleeping, resulting in not only loud snoring, but also periods of time when the person actually stops breathing. It’s estimated that approximately 90% of the OSA cases in the US remain undiagnosed, and if left untreated, it can increase the risk of a variety of life-threatening conditions – including heart attack, stroke and diabetes, to name just a few. Fortunately, OSA can be effectively treated through sleep dentistry methods, which is why Dr. Williamson is pleased to provide these services to his patients from throughout the San Antonio, Texas, area.
Once Dr. Williamson has determined that the patient does, in fact, suffer from OSA, he sets about creating an appropriate treatment plan for that individual. Our team at Mark Williamson Dentistry are trained in sleep dentistry treatments and have an extensive knowledge of facial structures and the oral cavity. Our way of addressing the issue is to focus on the root cause of OSA or any other sleep disorder experienced by the patient.
Dr. Williamson may recommend any one of several treatments, or a combination of different methods to resolve the issue. These treatments include the following:
- Lifestyle changes – Obesity can worsen the symptoms of sleep disorders, so we may recommend that a patient slim down in order to lessen the severity of their symptoms. But excess weight isn’t the only contributing factor. Habits like smoking and drinking alcohol can also make sleep disorder symptoms worse, which is why dentists often recommend that people quit these habits as soon as possible.
- CPAP machine – A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is worn by the patient while asleep. It pushes a continuous small amount of air pressure into the patient’s throat, which prevents the airway from collapsing while the person sleeps.
- Mouthguard – Dr. Williamson may recommend a custom-made mouthguard for some patients. This oral appliance not only improves sleep quality, but also protects the patient from damage to the teeth brought about from bruxism (teeth grinding).
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For more information about sleep dentistry, contact our San Antonio, Texas office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Williamson.