Dental Sleep Medicine FAQs

All About Dental Sleep Medicine in Seattle, WA

Did you know that your dentist can actually help you get better sleep? Most people think of dentistry as just cleaning teeth and filling cavities, but we also help you achieve healthier sleep by adjusting your jaw and teeth.

Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and snoring can be remedied with dental sleep medicine. But what is it? The team at Seattle Dental Associates is here to help you learn about dental sleep medicine and how it can help you get restful, healthy sleep.

We’ll listen to your concerns and situation and form a plan to help you get the restful sleep you deserve. Many patients don’t even realize they have a sleeping condition till years later. The effects of getting a good night’s sleep are monumental in a healthy life. It can affect your mental and physical health. 

Sleepless young woman suffering from insomnia, covering eyes with hands

What is dental sleep medicine?

Dental sleep medicine is a type of dental practice that centers around using dental sleep appliances along with functional orthodontics and even working with ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctors to treat sleep disorders. Most sleep disorders stem from improper breathing like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

What is a dental sleep appliance?

A dental sleep appliance is like a mouth guard or a retainer. Patients only wear it when they sleep to correct their jaw for optimal breathing position. The appliance slightly pushes the jaw forward to keep the airway open. Each appliance is custom-fit and fabricated to fit the mouth and needs of the individual patient.

What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?

Snoring is caused by your throat, nose, and sinuses vibrating while you sleep. While it is not always a serious problem, it’s a cause of losing healthy, restful sleep. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, is a cessation, or stopping, or breathing while sleeping. This is usually caused by the airway collapsing and preventing air from entering the lungs. It can also be caused by the brain or central nervous system issues. A formal diagnosis is needed to correctly identify the cause of each patient’s sleeping issues via a sleep screening.

Can you make an appliance just for snoring?

Yes! There are devices designed specifically for easing snoring. However, we notice that many patients who have snoring issues also have some type of obstructive sleep apnea. The best way to discover what you need is a sleep test. This way, you’ll know exactly how to plan for the right solution.

What foods should I avoid for sleep apnea?

While omega-3 fatty acids and melatonin-rich foods are great to help you get restful sleep, there are a few possibly not obvious foods you should avoid before bedtime. While bananas are healthy and a great source of potassium and fiber, they tend to increase mucus production in your mouth and throat. This can cause issues when breathing with sleep apnea. Additionally, avoid fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. Saturated fats can cause inflammation throughout your body, while dairy products like milk, cream, and heavy cheeses can increase mucus production.

Is dental sleep appliance therapy covered by insurance?

Most dental sleep appliance therapy is covered by medical insurance. OSA is a medical condition rather than a dental condition. Our team here will be able to work with your insurance provider for more information.

If I have TMJ problems, can I still use dental sleep appliances?

This answer varies among patients. Most patients can use a dental sleep appliance with TMJ, and in some cases, patients noticed their TMJ improved via using dental sleep appliances but will require a more in-depth look.

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