Total health comes from a combination of factors, with balance being the key to avoid certain disease processes in the body. An important factor that is easily forgotten is sleep. Without adequate sleep, the body simply cannot function properly, and everything from mood to eating habits is affected. Snoring is a problem that plagues millions of people around the world, often affecting not only the snorer but also their bed partner.
The significance of snoring goes beyond the fact that a bed partner's sleep is negatively impacted. In some instances, this irritating habit is the result of a more serious condition, a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. While not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, it is important to investigate the underlying causes of loss of sleep so that proper treatment can be obtained.
More than simple snoring, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked as the patient is sleeping. During sleep, all the muscles in the body relax, including those around the throat. As this happens, the airway becomes obstructed and breathing actually stops for several seconds. As a natural response, sleep is disrupted in order to open the airway, but when the muscles relax once again, sometimes minutes later, breathing will once again stop.
Do you snore excessively? Do you suffer from daytime fatigue? Do you awake during the night with shortness of breath? You may suffer from the life-threatening sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. About 1 in every 15 Americans suffer from sleep apnea and it is a problem that many don’t even realize they might have. But what does this have to do with dentistry? Because sleep apnea is caused by an airway obstruction, the disorder can be treated through the mouth. The Thorton adjustable positioner, or Tap appliance is one of the more popular ways to treat sleep apnea. When the jawbone yes lax, the tongue and soft tissue obstruct the airway. The tap appliance advances the jaw bone, allowing the air to flow freely and making sleep more restful throughout the night. If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your dentist today about possible treatment options.
At New Health Dental, we look for signs of problematic snoring during routine dental examinations. For those who experience snoring that steals their sleep, or suspect they have obstructive sleep apnea, we work with the patient's physician to obtain an accurate diagnosis so that the right form of treatment may be started.
Obstructive sleep apnea, which may be worsened by certain lifestyle factors such as weight, is medically treated using what is called a CPAP machine. This piece of equipment consists of a facemask worn over the mouth and nose during sleep. Through the mask, constant air pressure is delivered, keeping the airway open. The issue with this medical approach is patient compliance, which is less than 50 percent and primarily due to discomfort associated with the facemask.
In many cases, snoring and sleep apnea can be remedied with a convenient and comfortable oral appliance custom fabricated in our dental laboratory. Far less intrusive than the CPAP, oral appliances are similar to a mouth guard, even allowing the patient to drink water while wearing them.
Don't let problematic snoring affect your sleep any longer. Contact us for more information on snoring and sleep apnea treatment.
What our patients say about Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment
"I would like to say how much I appreciate Jamie who works at the front desk. She is always pleasant and answers all your questions . Dr. Fritz and his whole staff have been very helpful and I feel they really do care about there patients. Thank you all for all you do for us."Cindy L.
SMART was developed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT).
Licensed practitioners must exercise their own judgment concerning the specific treatment options to utilize in their practices.