Huffman Family Dentistry
Dr. Mary Huffman DDS

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Sleep Apnea Treatment

How can we help you?

Patient education is at the cornerstone of our dental practices, and we pride ourselves on staying current with the latest in dental care. Dr. Mary Huffman and Dr. Robbie Sheffield welcome the opportunity to share their knowledge with patients.

The teams at both of our practices encourage our patients to ask questions because the more they know about dental care, the better their oral health tends to be. Healthy teeth and smiles for all of our patients is our number one goal!

We often hear the same questions from several patient, and we have answered some of those here. If your question is not listed, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or ask us when you are at your next appointment. We welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with you. We are firm believers that there is no such thing as a silly question—unless it never gets asked!

Take advantage of the incredible knowledge of our caring professionals at Mary Huffman Family Dentistry and Lenoir Family Dentistry. We look forward to assisting you with all of your questions regarding your oral health!

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a condition that can have serious health ramifications. All snorers do not have sleep apnea, and all patients suffering from sleep apnea do not necessarily snore.

Most dentists will recommend the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for patients seeking treatment for snoring or sleep apnea. CPAP is a popular treatment because it works well when patients are able to use the machine as instructed.

CPAP works via an air mask worn by the patient that is connected to a continuous flow of air. This steady air means patients suffering from sleep apnea don’t have to worry about breathing through the night.

The biggest problem with CPAP is that many patients don’t use it as directed. Some patients find it uncomfortable and noisy; others find that they develop a rash from the mask. Regardless of the reason patients don’t follow instructions, CPAP won't be a good solution for treating sleep apnea if it isn’t used the way it should be.

There are alternative treatments available, including oral appliance therapy (OAT). OAT has been shown to be effective, particularly in those patients with milder cases of sleep apnea. The appliance works by moving the lower jaw forward, which in turn opens up the airway because it allows more room for the soft tissue at the back of the throat.

The first thing patients should know about professional teeth cleaning is that it does much more than just clean your teeth. A professional teeth cleaning removes plaque that builds up on the teeth. And removal of this plaque is essential if your teeth and gums are to stay healthy.

Good home care is an important part of good oral health, but even the most diligent brushing and flossing cannot take the place of a professional teeth cleaning. Plaque buildup is inevitable, and the only thing that can remove it are specialized dental instruments.

If plaque is not removed, it hardens and turns into tartar, which is also called calculus. This calcified plaque attaches not only to your teeth but also below your gum line. No amount of brushing and flossing can remove it. If you don’t go to the dentist to have a dental hygienist remove it, this bacteria will produce harmful substances that can begin to damage the jawbone. This can also lead to periodontal disease. If the pattern of skipping dental cleanings continues and gum disease is left unchecked, this can lead to other, more serious problems—including tooth loss.

It’s not worth the risk to skip professional dental cleanings. Just visiting our practices twice each year can work wonders in protecting your oral health.

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