American Sleep Association – Sleep Dentistry
Summary: What is a sleep dentist? What are the treatments that a sleep dentist uses for sleep apnea? Info on oral appliances and dental devices.
A sleep dentist is dental professional who specializes in the treatment of sleep apnea with oral appliances and other dental devices.
Generally, a sleep apnea dentist works with other physicians to diagnose and treat patients with sleep apnea.
First, the patient usually presents to a family doctor with symptoms – like snoring, daytime sleepiness, gasping during sleep, and witnesses pauses in breathing during the night. The family doctor often will refer the patient to a sleep doctor, or directly for a sleep study or home sleep test.
Once the diagnosis of sleep apnea has been established, the patient may be referred for treatment with a sleep apnea oral appliance. These dental devices are made by professionals who have training in sleep dentistry. These devices resemble night guards – snoring mouthpieces or mouth guards.
The sleep dentist usually takes a bite impression with a dental tray that fits in the mouth. The patient bites down into the putty which makes teeth impression. This impression kit is then sent to a dental lab which fabricates the sleep apnea oral device.
The sleep dentistry professional will then assess the position and fit of the dental device. Often the patient will repeat the sleep study with the oral appliance to determine its efficacy.
To find a sleep dentistry professional through American Sleep Association, visit the sleep apnea oral appliance information pages.