Sleep Apnea Is Bad For Your Health

sleep apneaGetting a poor nights sleep here and there can leave you feeling tired and grumpy, but long term sleep disruption can actually lead to serious health problems. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, around 25 million adults in the U.S. suffer from sleep apnea. Many people don’t even realize that they have it.

Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that causes you to snore loudly and actually stop breathing up to a hundred times a night for even more than a minute. The most common treatment is a CPAP machine, which provides airway pressure while sleeping.  An alternative treatment is a custom fit oral appliance provided by a dentist. Treating this condition can lead to better rest and ease your risk of developing serious health complications such as: High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Depression, Diabetes, and Stroke.

If you suspect that you, or someone you love, may have sleep apnea, be sure to talk to your doctor or dentist.  It may just save your life.

Why Sleep Apnea is Bad for Your Health|Sequoyah Times

What’s The Role For Dentists In Managing Sleep Problems?

managing sleep problemsIf you have trouble sleeping, you may not know that your dentist can help.  Dentists actually play a big role in managing sleep problems. This is because there are a number of elements that link your mouth and teeth to your sleep.

One commonly occurring problem is Bruxism. This is the grinding of the teeth or clenching the jaw.  This sometimes occurs with people while they sleep and they don’t even know it.  It can cause pain and damage to the teeth and even change the shape of the jaws and alignment of teeth.

Dentists can also predict the risk of sleep apnea and snoring. This is why your dentist may ask you if you snore.

Dental appliances are an effective way for treating all of these issues. There are certain devices that hold the mandible forward during sleep so the airway stays open.  These devices reduce snoring and help with sleep apnea.

If you think you have bruxism or sleep apnea you should talk to your dentist. Dentists working in the area of dental sleep medicine usually have a good working relationship with local sleep physicians. Check out the article from the Huffington Post here to see videos about these issues as well.

Can Your Dentist Help You Sleep?|Huffington Post

Sleep Apnea Dental Appliances

sleep apneaSleep apnea is a serious condition that causes those who suffer from it to stop breathing as they sleep. If it is left untreated it can lead to cardiovascular issues and other health issues.  A CPAP device is the primary way to treat sleep apnea.  But it requires wearing a mask on the face and many people find this uncomfortable and claustrophobic. This leads to them not using the device as often as they should. Sleep apnea dental appliances are a safe and effective alternative if approved by your doctor.

There are various types of oral appliances that can help with this condition and make the symptoms lessen. They will need to be fitted properly by a dentist or medical professional.  These dental appliances relieve sleep apnea by adjusting the jaw while sleeping.  By keeping the lower jaw stable, the device keeps the mouth from opening during sleep and allows the tongue to stay in position so it cannot fall back to stop breathing. These appliances resemble a retainer in their look and most people say they are more comfortable to wear to sleep than a CPAP.

Sleep apnea dental appliances are very important tools for treating a condition that may possibly become life threatening if not taken care of. Be sure to discuss treatment options with your sleep apnea doctor or dentist during your next appointment.

What Is A Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance|Your Dental Health Resource

How Can your Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea

Are you awakened by the frightening snoring sounds made by yourself or your partner during sleep? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Millions of people worldwide face this problem. Nearly 40% of the adult population in the U.S. snore during sleep. This can also lead to a medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea, this is when an obstructed airway produces pauses in breathing during sleep. Clinical symptoms include morning drowsiness, fatigue and difficulty in breathing.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Research has shown that sleep apnea occurs because of vibration of maxillofacial tissues caused by a constriction or obstruction in the airway. A constriction mainly occurs due to the enlargement of lymphoid tissues inside the oral cavity as a result of a chronic infection. Severe lymphoid enlargement, however, may ultimately result in partial airway obstruction. Another reason for obstruction may be due to the falling-back of the tongue over the throat, thereby reducing air intake. Not only is this condition an annoyance for oneself and others, but can also be an indication of various serious medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

Diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea is carried out by a team of professionals including a sleep specialist, a dentist and a general health practitioner. Overnight sleep studies are performed to record the sleeping pattern, breathing behavior and aggravating or relieving factors. Moreover, the patient may be asked to keep a sleep diary, which would indicate the number of times the patient woke up due to snoring and the quality of sleep.

A Dentist’s Role in Treating Sleep Apnea

Dentists are usually the first healthcare professional to diagnose sleep apnea in their patients, often during routine dental examination. In fact, some dentists have been trained in treating sleep related disorders. The team of dentists at the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recognize the importance of a dentist’s role in treating sleep disorders, and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea and other sleep related dental disorders. Following treatment strategies have been recognized:

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)

This approach involves the use of oral appliances to the patients that work by either preventing the tongue from falling back on the throat, or keeping the lower jaw in a protruded position so as to relieve constriction in the throat region. These appliances are usually made of plastic and are worn during sleep. Oral appliance therapy, in some cases may be supplemented with other treatment options such as weight loss or surgical procedures.

Surgical Procedures

In cases when oral appliance therapy is ineffective, surgical procedures may be considered by dentists and maxillofacial surgeons to rectify the anatomical enlargements causing airway obstruction. In some cases, a simple procedure such as tongue reduction or removal of enlarged lymph nodes may suffice, while in severe cases, mandibular advancement and naso-palatal surgeries may be performed. Supplemental surgical procedures such as tracheostomy or weight loss surgery may also be warranted in a few cases.

All these treatment options are aimed at correcting sleep disorders and improving the quality of life. It is important to see your doctor or dentist if you or your partner have trouble with snoring during sleep.