Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Dental sleep medicine helps patients who may snore or have sleep apnea. Working in combination with your sleep physician, oral appliances can be a safe, comfortable and effective way to alleviate snoring and the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Everyone is familiar with the hoarse, raspy sounds of snoring which occur when your airway is partially obstructed during sleep. Many dental patients have a concern about their snoring. Most of the patients who ask aren’t bothered by their snoring, but their spouse or significant other is kept awake by it, and is encouraging them to find a solution. There are dental solutions to snoring that are professionally designed, fit and monitored by your dentist.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 100 times per hour! It is estimated that between 2-9 percent of middle-aged Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Snoring is often one of the many signs of sleep apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea, each time your breathing stops, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Because the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it – and many think they are getting a full night’s sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, which occurs when throat muscles relax.
INDICATORS OF SLEEP APNEA
Do you or a family member:
- Often find yourself drowsy in the middle of the day?
- Frequently wake up breathless at night?
- Make loud snoring or choking sounds at night?
- Have headaches when waking in the morning?
- Been prescribed a CPAP machine but can’t use it?
Untreated sleep apnea may have the following consequences:
- Increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
- Increase the risk of, or worsen, heart failure
- Make arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) more likely
- Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents
Oral Appliances For Snoring & Sleep Apena
Oral appliances are worn during sleep and designed to gently move the lower jaw forward. This forward motion opens the airway and holds the base of the tongue forward, making breathing easier. Patients find these appliances very comfortable to wear and easier than a CPAP machine, often with equivalent results and a reduction of their symptoms. For many people, oral appliances can be used as an alternative to a CPAP.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS A DENTAL SLEEP APPLIANCE?
There are now studies demonstrating that oral appliances are over 95% effective in overcoming snoring. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliance therapy as an effective treatment for patients suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
WHY A DENTIST?
Dentists are one of the most important providers of sleep apnea therapy, often collaborating with physicians, psychologists, technicians, and therapists to help patients overcome their sleep disorders.
- During their medical training, dentists receive comprehensive education in the anatomy of the nose and mouth, the diagnosis of sleep disorders, and the application of sleep apnea therapies.
- Sleep medicine dentists are highly knowledgeable in a variety of oral dental devices used to treat sleep apnea.
- In addition to knowing about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), dentists are also knowledgeable about the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) and its functions. Treating sleep apnea by using an oral appliance can physically change the occlusion (position or alignment of the jaw and bite) as well at the joint so it is important to work with a dentist who has comprehensive knowledge of both TMJ and OSA disorders and treatments. Dr. Richard Hunt has many years of experience working with and successfully treating TMJ/TMD disorders.
Dr. Hunt offers no fee consultations and he and his team pride themselves on personalized services and fantastic results. Dr. Hunt is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) and has worked with many patients and their physicians to help manage their snoring and sleep apnea. He will work with you to find the right solution for you. Contact Dr. Hunt at 252-316-2214 or send us an email.