How Dentists Can Help with Sleep Apnea

Licensed to practice dentistry in the state of New Jersey, Dr. Christopher Lillo leads Oak Ridge Dental Group, PA, in Toms River. In addition to oral maintenance and root canals, Dr. Christopher Lillo offers wisdom teeth extractions and sleep apnea treatments.

Affecting millions of Americans, sleep apnea leads to daytime drowsiness, insomnia, and excessive snoring, which can cause choking during slumber. The illness is a silent condition and often goes undiagnosed. Fortunately, dentists, who tend to see patients more than physicians, can identify symptoms early on. Complaints about lethargy and dry mouth signal to a dentist that the patient should be referred to a sleep medicine specialist, who can further exam him or her and give a proper diagnosis.

The dentist then treats the disorder, utilizing various solutions. For mild cases, a change in diet and exercise may be enough to offset future symptoms. A dentist may also suggest that the patient adjust his or her sleeping position. In extreme situations, wearing a dental device known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask to enhance airflow while sleeping will likely be recommended.