By Richard A. Stanley, DMD, PresidentDoes your significant other keep you up all night snoring? Many people are unaware of the effects snoring can have on your daily life. A dentist trained in oral sleep appliance therapy can help, many times without the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine, or in combination with it to make its use much more comfortable.
In fact, it is estimated that up to 90 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, many of them noticing snoring as the first sign. In more severe forms, snoring and related issues may cause people to stop breathing many times an hour – virtually every breath attempted. The overall health and lifestyle effects can be disastrous. You can imagine that if you are waking several hundred times a night that you will be affected in much the same way as someone who has been completely sleep deprived.
In particular, sleep apnea is a condition that affects more than 18 million American adults, stopping their breathing while they sleep and preventing oxygen from getting to the brain. Many of those who suffer from sleep apnea do not know they are affected since many of the symptoms only present themselves while the person is asleep. Also known as obstructive sleep apnea, the condition occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and block the open airway, which prevents breathing and oftentimes causes snoring. This causes disruptive sleep patterns, leading to drowsiness, changes in mood and potentially the development of heart disease.
The Smile Centre offers several treatments for sleep apnea so you can get the rest you need and stay healthy.
Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
• Loud, constant snoring
• Frequently waking up during sleep
• Drowsiness during the day
• Morning headaches
• Changes in mood or forgetfulness
• Bruxism (Teeth Clenching and/or Grinding)
Risk Factors Of Sleep Apnea
• Small mouth, upper airway or large tongue
• Family history of sleep apnea
• Overweight or large neck size
• Over the age of 40 (Age increases risk, but many
children have as well.)
• Smoking and alcohol usage
A good preliminary step is to involve the dentist to evaluate the position of the teeth, jaws, tongue, and airways. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Many times, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is prescribed. This device is worn over the nose while you sleep and forces air down your airway to keep it open. Some patients are CPAP intolerant however, and require other forms of treatment, often a dental appliance such as SomnoMed® or SilentNite®. These dental appliances are customized to fit your mouth specifically and gently reposition your jaw to prevent the airway from becoming blocked. These types of appliances are also commonly used for cases of TMJ disorder as the two conditions can often be linked due to improper positioning of the jaw. If you also suffer from TMJ disorder, we may be able to help both conditions by repositioning your jaw and bite with orthodontics.
Without quality sleep, our bodies simply cannot heal, recover, and rejuvenate as quickly from our daily physical and mental load. Personality changes, like depression and mood swings, as well as marital stress, memory loss, and traffic and workplace accidents are often associated with sleep deprivation. Snoring and poor sleep are seen even more in children and adults who have put on weight. Because some additional body fat in overweight people tends to be around the neck, it compresses the small airway critical for breathing. Again, these conditions have been shown to correlate with increased risk of health concerns such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. Even periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, can be exacerbated by stress and lack of sleep.
Children can also be affected and often misdiagnosed as having ADHD as they struggle through their school day having not slept. Besides snoring, some other warning signs for sleep-disordered breathing in children can be bed wetting, nighttime vomiting, tooth grinding, sleep-walking or talking, hyperactivity, headaches, and other behavior problems, such as increased irritability and tantrums. It is very important for parents to be aware of these warning signs and monitor their children to prevent problems that will affect the child for the rest of their life. It should also be noted that Growth Hormone, the main stimulator of growth in the human body, is also secreted mainly during deep restful sleep. Children who are not sleeping well will often be smaller than other children their age.
If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, or your partner has mentioned your constant snoring, seeking help at The Smile Centre can not only improve your overall sleep, but help prevent further medical conditions from developing. Our sleep appliances are custom fitted to provide comfort and allow you to get the good nights rest you deserve. With our multi-disciplinary approach, we are able to identify and treat many different conditions, often at the same time, to provide a convenient experience for you.
For more information, call The Smile Centre at University at 941-351-4468, in Mid-town Sarasota at 941-366-3636 or in Venice at 941-497-5451. We look forward to meeting you in our warm, friendly environment and answering all your questions.
University Palm Aire Plaza at Sarasota
5899 Whitfield Avenue, Suite 105
Sarasota, FL 34243
The South Trail Office at Sarasota
3220 S. Tramiami Trail
Saratosa, FL 34239
The Galleria at Venice Avenue
1500 East Venice Avenue, Suite 203
Venice, FL 34292