How Dentistry Can Help with Sleep Apnea

Jun 01, 2023
misc image
Does your snoring keep your partner awake? Do you struggle with daytime sleepiness? These are just a few signs of sleep apnea. But don’t worry — you may not need a CPAP machine to reclaim your sleep; your dentist may be able to help you instead.

Did you know approximately 25% of men and almost 10% of women live with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? This is a serious sleep disorder that can significantly affect your daily performance, relationships, overall health, and even put your life at risk.

In many cases, people turn to CPAP — or continuous positive airway pressure — machines to manage this issue. However, there may be another option if you live with mild or moderate OSA or can’t stand CPAPs.

Robert A. Scherrer, DMD, can treat sleep apnea disorders, such as OSA, at Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood in New Jersey. If you have sleep apnea, here’s what you should know about your treatment options.

Why you shouldn’t ignore sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your body stops breathing periodically while you sleep. When it comes to OSA — which is the most common form of sleep apnea — tissues in and around the airway collapse during sleep, which blocks the airway.

This causes the body to wake up briefly to kickstart the breathing process. Unfortunately, this can occur many times throughout the night. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, this condition causes your system to not get the oxygen it needs to thrive.

Signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Memory problems or issues concentrating
  • Mood changes, including irritability and depression
  • Excessive sleepiness throughout the day
  • Gasping while sleeping
  • Waking with a dry mouth or headache

Without treatment, sleep apnea increases your chances for numerous health complications, including obesity, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and a shortened lifespan.

Dentistry and sleep apnea

As we mentioned above, people often turn to CPAP machines for OSA treatment. But, while they can provide highly effective relief, they may not be your only option.

If you have OSA, your airway becomes blocked by soft tissues that collapse while you sleep, which interferes with your ability to breathe. A CPAP machine uses a mask that continuously blows air to address this issue, because the airflow keeps the airway open. However, dentistry offers alternatives, such as the following.

Dental devices

One option is a custom-made dental device. These devices reposition your tongue, soft palette, or jaw to help keep your airway open while you sleep. If you have mild or moderate OSA, or if you have issues using a CPAP machine, this option may be able to provide significant relief from your sleep apnea symptoms.


If you don’t respond to conservative treatments, such as CPAP machines or dental devices, Dr. Scherrer could suggest surgery. Oral surgery can correct numerous issues that cause OSA.

For example, removing your tonsils or excessive tissue in your throat may provide relief. Or, expanding your upper and lower pharyngeal airway may do the trick. Furthermore, there are also implantable neurostimulator devices that work to improve airflow by moving the tongue forward during sleep.

If you have sleep apnea, you can rest easy knowing Dr. Scherrer can help. He brings more than 35 years of dental experience to the community, and he’s been voted a top dentist in New Jersey for five years in a row. With his guidance, you can get the help you need to improve your sleep — and protect your overall health.

To learn more about your options to treat sleep apnea, call 201-670-0670 or book an appointment online with Advanced Dental Care of Ridgewood today.