Dr. Elizabeth Duling is a Diplomate with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). She has the advanced training and skill to perform screenings for sleep disorders and treat sleep apnea in Owens Cross Roads, AL. Her goal is to always help restore the oral health of patients with comprehensive care.
Treating sleep apnea can give you back your health and wellness through improved sleep and significantly lowers your risk for developing other systemic health concerns. Dr. Duling’s unique and personalized approach to your needs is the foundation for a successful treatment plan to resolve the symptoms of sleep apnea and associated TMJ pain.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse. When this occurs, the airway is temporarily blocked. OSA can also worsen symptoms of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There are several common risk factors for developing sleep apnea and being aware of them and your own health condition is the key to prompt and effective treatment. These can include:
- Overweight, or obese
- Smoking or using tobacco
- Males over 40
- Males with larger neck circumference and narrower airway
Dr. Duling can identify patients possibly at risk for a sleep disorder and looks for other oral signs that there may be a sleep problem. She is able to evaluate your jaw structure and the airway and looks for other signs such as teeth that are worn, flat, or damaged. Many patients also grind their teeth, leading to these concerns.
Typically, we use oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea. The appliance repositions the jaw so that the airway isn’t obstructed while you’re sleeping. Oral appliances can also help TMJ disorders and their symptoms. An uneven bite is one of the top causes of TMJ disorders. Repositioning the jaw can help you find relief from the pain and tension of TMJ.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea manifests through these symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood changes
- Breaks in breathing
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Chronic morning headaches
- Grinding teeth at night
If you have noticed any of these symptoms in you or a loved one, please contact our office for an appointment. Dr. Duling will take diagnostic x-rays and digital images to help determine the right treatment. Her modern technology allows her to view the dental structures and formulate a plan based on her findings.
These symptoms aren’t something you should ever ignore. If obstructive sleep apnea goes untreated there can be serious consequences, including death. Sleep apnea is linked to an increased risk of heart problems, diabetes, and strokes. It’s not ideal for your brain, either. If you’re going without oxygen for periods of time, that means your brain may not be getting enough oxygen either.
Request a Dental Sleep Consultation Today
Resolve obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance treatment. We custom-tailor appliances to each patient. Call our dental office at 256.202.4186 or schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Duling on our website. We look forward to meeting you!