Sleep Apnea is a common and serious sleeping disorder which occurs when your regular breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are two main types of sleep apnea:
Central Sleep Apnea which occurs as a result of communication failure between the brain and the muscles responsible for breathing. There are no anatomical constrictions with this type of sleep apnea.
Obstuctive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when muscles relax allowing anatomical features partially or completely block your upper airway during sleep. This obstruction requires your diaphragm and chest muscles to work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. Common manifestations of OSA are:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Arrested breathing during sleep
- Waking from sleep with gasping or choking
- Acid reflux
- High blood pressure
- Frequent trips to urinate during sleep
- Awakening in morning not feeling rested
- Moring headache
- Loud or consistent snoring
- Nighttime sweating
- Decreased libido
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Scalloping of the tongue
One of the most common signs of OSA is snoring. However, just because you snore does not mean you have OSA. A sleep study would help determine if you are only snoring or have a deeper underlying condition. To obtain a sleep study your physician can refer you to a sleep study center where a significant number of electrodes will be placed on your body for monitoring during sleep. Alternatively, we can dispense a take home sleep test which will record data while you sleep. The information acquired, while you sleep in the privacy of your own home, will later be uploaded and interoperated by a board certified sleep doctor. The sleep unit will record:
- The duration worn
- Time of onset of sleep
- Efficiency of sleep
- Position of sleep
- Heart rate during sleep
- Loudness of snoring
- Apnea-hypoxia episodes
- Oxygenation levels
For true OSA, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine is the most effective treatment modality. However, if you have a diagnosis of mild to moderate OSA, or merely snore, an oral appliance may provide more than adequate therapy. An oral appliance is less invasive, quieter, and easier to travel with than a CPAP. The appliance will open the space between your teeth and move your lower jaw forward. This bi-directional movement will decrease the ability for anatomical structures to occlude your airway.
Clenching is a common manifestation of stress where people exert significant force with the muscles used for closing the jaw. This commonly occurs during day and night time. Clenching can result in sore teeth, muscle fatigue, and chronic headaches or migraines. An NTI (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition) appliance can help with these symptoms. This appliance keeps the back teeth separated, minimizing the amount of force the clenching muscles can generate.
Bruxism occurs when people grind their teeth, typically at night. Grinding of the teeth can result in significant stress on the teeth. This stress can result in shorter teeth, fractured restorations, cracked teeth, gingival recession, tooth hypersensitivity, muscle and joint pain. An occlusal night guard is often recommended for people with bruxism to protect their teeth while they sleep.
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Research has shown that your oral health is linked to the rest of your body in many ways. For example, gum disease can be a reflection of diabetes, heart disease, and low birth weight. Give Silverstone Family Dental a call for optimal care at a reputable dental office. We would be happy to schedule you an appointment with our dentist and dental hygienists.