Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by heavy snoring and pauses in sleep. These pauses in breathing may last anywhere from 10 seconds or longer. During this pause the body may not get enough oxygen, leading in the long-term to a number of health problems.
The Smile Department Can Treat Sleep Apnea
The there are two categories of sleep disorders: central sleep apnea and the more common obstructive sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea the upper airway leading to the lungs becomes obstructed at various potential spots. This obstruction may be caused by excess tissue in the airway as in obesity, enlarged tonsils, a very large tongue, nasal obstruction and relaxation of the airway musculature collapsing when asleep. Central apnea is less common and is related to problems with the brain triggering the proper signals to continue with respiration.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious health problem that is widely under diagnosed. As many as 20 million Americans may currently have untreated OSA. The symptoms of sleep apnea may be very subtle to very signiﬁcant. The spectrum of symptomatology is broad. With the rise of obesity in the US, a large segment of the population is at an elevated risk. It is very important to get tested for sleep apnea if you have symptoms or risk factors because untreated apnea can lead to serious health problems. Studies have also documented people with sleep apnea may have an increase risk of heart attack.
Potential Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea:
- High Blood Pressure
- Coronary Heart Disease
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Worsening Heart Failure
- Poor quality of life
Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
- Waking unrefreshed from sleep
- Daytime fatigue and somnolence
- Drowsy throughout the day
- Fall asleep easily while watching TV
- Drowsiness while driving
- Difficult to treat headaches
- Increase in anxiety
- Loss of libido
- Restless sleep
- Restless legs
- Hyperactive behavior, especially in children
- Gasping or choking sensation arousing you from sleep
- Irritability, impatience
Often patients with Sleep Apnea may have associated underlying metabolic conditions.
Risk Factors for Developing Sleep Apnea Include:
- Males over 40 are at a higher risk of developing Sleep Apnea
- Overweight individuals (a BMI greater than 25)
- Obesity (a BMI over 30)
- Metabolic syndrome
- Alcohol use/abuse
- Narcotic use
Sleep Apnea Treatment
For most Sleep Apnea patients, the most affordable, non-invasive, comfortable, and effective snoring solution remains an The Smile Department prescribed snoring preventative device. Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) look like mouth guards and hold the jaw down and forward to permit the airway to remain open. There are also Tongue Retraining Devices (TRD) to keep the tongue from blocking the airway. Among other sleep apnea treatments, our office is proud to offer patients the Silent Night system.
Silent Nite sl is a custom-fabricated dental device that moves the lower jaw into a forward position, increasing space in the airway tube and reducing air velocity and soft tissue vibration. Special connectors are attached to transparent flexible upper and lower splints. To determine the patient’s starting anteriorization, a bite registration should be taken using the sl-protrusion gauge. The sl-protrusion gauge is designed to directly register the appropriate mandibular advancement (protrusion) for the patient receiving the Silent Nite sl. The splints are custom-laminated with heat and pressure to the dentist’s model of the mouth. The fit is excellent and comfortable, permitting small movements of the jaw (TMJ) and allowing uninhibited oral breathing.
Overall, when sleep apnea is successfully treated there are numerous health beneﬁts to be gained. It is vital to obtain adequate sleep for overall health and wellness. It is during sleep that we become restored, memories are ingrained, hormones reset, and we feel rested and ready to start a new day. By treating sleep apnea we are also practicing prevention by improving cardiovascular outcomes, hormonal balance, and sense of overall health.
Call The Smile Department today to schedule your sleep apnea testing at (970) 744-4456