Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Sleep is the basis for our livelihood and overall state of health. Learning more about how sleep and snoring can affect one’s health has become a very important part of our work with physiologic dentistry and we include questions about your quality of sleep during the initial consultation.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea (AP-ne-ah) is a serious disorder in which a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. The airway becomes narrowed by collapsing soft tissue and can even become blocked entirely. Typically, breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. While many people try to cope with snoring or the symptoms of sleep apnea, they may not realize how serious this can be to one’s overall health. Physiologically, every time there is a cessation of breathing, there is a lack of oxygen flow causing a three to four percent loss of blood oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. This is a life threatening condition that a trained Physiologic dentist can diagnose.
Does this sound familiar? How has this affected your relationships, whether sleep apnea affects you or your loved ones? Our team can evaluate you for sleep apnea symptoms, explain the different types of sleep apnea, and discuss options for sleep apnea treatment.
Sleep apnea symptoms
Common symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Loud snoring, commonly followed by gasping or even choking
- Irritated or dry throat in the morning
- Chronic fatigue or drowsiness
- Memory loss or challenges with daily functioning
- Depression or unexplained mood swings
- Worsening of ADHD
- Weight gain
- Onset of diabetes
- High blood pressure or increased cardio / cerebrovascular risk
- Risk for motor vehicle collisions
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. This is the more common type and should not be left untreated.
Central sleep apnea (CSA) the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. This is less common and can happen as a result of a stroke or heart attack.
Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the two and considered rare.
There is a common misconception that apnea solely affect obese males over 40 but the reality is, even health conscious females can suffer from a range of sleep issues and it affects people of all shapes and sizes. Although excess weight can be a contributor, it is not the only factor. Experts agree male or female adults should be screened with an in-lab or at home study, but certainly any person identified with risk factors should consult with a trained professional.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Dr. Michael Robinson is a graduate Fellow of LVI in the United States, trained as a Physiologic Dentist and qualified to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. He will start a consultation by examining your mouth and throat and apply a physiologic approach looking at conditions associated with TMJ / TMD which often correlate with sleep disorders.
Long Term Management
After the initial examination, a sleep screening test will be recommended with likely referral to a sleep clinic for a formal sleep study (polysonogram or PSG) and consult with a sleep physician. From these results, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may be recommended and/or a CPAP machine. Dr. Robinson’s training is unique in that the fabrication of an oral sleep device is done using the most advanced physiologic techniques providing a very precise, comfortable and effective fit. It will keep your airway open by holding your jaw or tongue slightly forward while you sleep. This will prevent any soft tissue from pressing against the airway, therefore effectively treating your snoring and sleep apnea.
There are many resources available for Snoring and Sleep Apnea. Ask our compassionate team about what physiologic dentistry can do for you.