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Since the opening of the University of Barcelona's Snoring and Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment Unit, researchers involved with the program have emphasized the important role that dentists play in diagnosing and treating respiratory problems that commonly cause nighttime snoring or sleep apnea.
"As dentists, we can bring a new therapeutic perspective to deal with the complex symptoms involved, which can be exhibited in the respiratory apparatus but treated through the stomatognathic system, that is, the oral cavity, so we can add to the treatment options provided by other experts," said expert Maribel Pascual.
According to the researchers, early diagnosis of sleep apnea by dental health professionals may reduce the cost of treating the disorder later by three-fold.
Dentists may recommend that patients use a new tool called the mandibular advancement device, which alters certain characteristics of an individual's upper airways in order to promote better flow of oxygen.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute explains that people who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing for short periods of time while they rest. When respiration resumes, individuals sometimes produce snorting or choking sounds.
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