The consequences of not treating sleep apnea can be severe because it can lead to a lot of things, says Dr. David Little, a dentist in San Antonio. With a lack of sleep, we see people with high blood pressure, diabetes and a lot of other health problems. A lot of Dr. Little's patients feel so good after treatment that they realized they never were aware of how bad they were feeling in the first place.
Studies have shown that if you treat sleep apnea, you can add 10 years to your life, according to Dr. Little, a dentist in San Antonio, Texas. If left untreated, it can lead to death. It's a team approach to treating sleep apnea, says Dr. Little and working with physicians and sleep labs, the sleep apnea can be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe. The standard of care is the CPAP machine, which is a device that puts positive air pressure into the lungs and allows you to breath. The problem with the CPAP machine is that there is only about a 50% compliance rate, so not everybody can wear that.
Other options include surgery in the back of the mouth to open up the airway and the third option is a dental appliance. The appliance, when adjusted correctly, moves the jaw forward, which moves the tongue forward and opens up the airway, allowing the patient to breathe. Dr. Little has had all three treatments done because he was diagnosed with sleep apnea. He says that he doesn't fit the profile, which is another thing dentists notice because as dentists, they're able to look down a patient's mouth and see when there's going to be potential problems and correct them before they are problems.
Dr. David Little is a dentist in San Antonio, Texas. For more information on his practice, click here. He is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand, sleep breathing disorder video content. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.