How can you stay comfortable while your oral device is fitted?
Sedation dentistry can help keep you comfortable while you have your sleep apnea oral device fitted – sedation dentistry Seattle area
Even with a dentist who is as kind and compassionate as Dr. Mulliken, there are still some people who fear visiting the dentist. This is known as dental anxiety, and it leads patients to feel nervous or agitated when they have a dental appointment coming up. When such a fear is severe enough to make people avoid the dentist, it’s called dental phobia. For some patients, dental phobia is a result of an unfortunate bad experience in their past. However, many dental phobia patients don’t know exactly why they’re so anxious about visiting the dentist. They just feel panic and terror at the thought of a dental visit.
Dental phobia and sleep apnea
For patients with sleep apnea, oral devices are a form of treatment that many patients prefer. Those with mild to moderate sleep apnea who don’t want the hassle and discomfort of CPAP therapy often find that an oral device is far more convenient and comfortable, and treats their sleep apnea effectively.
In order to get an oral device, a sleep apnea sufferer needs to visit a sleep dentist (a dental professional who has special training in fitting these devices). Unfortunately, if a patient with sleep apnea also has dental phobia, then he or she may be too anxious to visit a dentist to get fitted for the device. In some cases, this could mean that the patient is inadequately treated for sleep apnea. (A CPAP machine, which blows air into the face at night, is another potential treatment. However, many people who are prescribed a CPAP don’t tolerate the treatment due to discomfort and hassle, and end up not using it.)
Dental phobia may feel overwhelming, but it is treatable. To help patients with dental phobia get the dental treatment that they need, sedation dentistry is an option.
How sedation dentistry can help
Sedation dentistry involves the use of a sedative medication to help you relax while you’re visiting the dentist. For any dental treatment that may cause pain or discomfort, you will also receive local anesthesia (a medication like Novocain) after you are sedated. While you’re sedated, you will not be fully asleep. You will feel deeply relaxed, but will still be able to respond to the dentist’s questions.
If you need a sleep apnea oral device, but you feel anxious about having to visit a dentist, then sedation dentistry may help you. You’ll be able to relax completely while your dentist fits your device. Because this procedure is not painful, you won’t need any local anesthesia.
Although sedation dentistry is very safe when used properly, it does require some extra training for the dentist. It’s important to ensure that your dentist and his or her staff know how to use sedation dentistry safely. Dr. Mulliken has specialized training in sedation dentistry. Our staff monitor our sedation dentistry patients throughout each visit, including your blood pressure, pulse rate, and oxygen saturation, to ensure your safety.
Sedation dentistry Seattle area
If you have symptoms that may indicate sleep apnea (such as feeling tired during the day despite having spent enough time sleeping the previous night), then you should strongly consider getting evaluated for sleep apnea. This usually consists of a simple screening questionnaire first, followed by a sleep study if indicated. We offer home sleep studies to our patients, for their convenience and comfort.
The usual first-line treatment options for sleep apnea are a CPAP machine or an oral device. Your sleep professional may recommend one over the other in your case. Most patients prefer oral device therapy, because it’s far more comfortable, convenient, and portable.
If you need to get fitted for an oral device for sleep apnea, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Mulliken. As a specialist in both sleep dentistry and sedation dentistry, he can provide you with the treatment you need while ensuring that you’re as comfortable as possible throughout the process. To book your appointment, contact our office.