This is one of the newest and exciting extensions of dentistry. We are now beginning to understand the effects of night time breathing and how it can affect everything from tooth erosion and wear to diabetes and high blood pressure. Sleep breathing disorder can be life threatening; in fact, left untreated it can decrease a person’s lifespan by 20 plus years. This is serious business. Often times Sleep partners are the ones that complain. Snoring no big deal?? A recent study compared the incidence of stroke in mild, moderate and severe snorers with non-snorers. The results were shocking. The incidence of stroke in mild snores was 15% greater than non-snorers; 30% greater in moderate; and close to 60% greater in severe snorers. Serious problem…..We think so. While sleeping, the airway can become obstructed, our jaw drops back making breathing more difficult and resulting in fragmented sleep as well as oxygen deprivation. This can have a number of adverse affects depending on the severity. We are hearing more and more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which is a severe form of airway obstruction. OSA can lead to a number of health risks.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA?
There is a wide range of symptoms that might indicate Obstructive Sleep Apnea including:
Chronic, Loud Snoring
Frequent awakening at night
Frequent urination at night
Impaired Memory and Judgment
Depression and Mood Swings
Impotence or decreased sex drive
Scratchy throat or dry mouth when you awaken
Grinding of Teeth
CAN SLEEP BREATHING DISORDER AFFECT CHILDREN?
The answer is an emphatic YES! The effect of sleep deprivation in children can affect growth and development, cognitive function and even permanently alter IQ. It is never normal for a child to grind his/her teeth while sleeping; it is never normal for a child to snore. If you ever detect either, seek help! Here are some of the other symptoms and ways that sleep apnea can affect children:
Children who snore during early childhood are at greater risk for poor academic performance in later years, long after snoring has been resolved
Ages 5 through 12 is critical to brain development
Earaches and frequent upper airway infections
Restless sleep, nightmares, night terrors
Most growth hormone is produced while sleeping
Delayed treatment of pediatric OSA may lead to a persistent decline in cognitive function, as exemplified by reduced failing academic performance
Damage is not reversible
It is still unclear what the total effect is
Please be aware that time is of essence and you should treat this problem as soon as you suspect it is an issue.
WHY SCREEN FOR SLEEP APNEA?
Despite the risks associated with OSA, up to 90% of sufferers go undiagnosed
Drowsy drivers cause more fatalities per accident than drunk drivers
Untreated sleep apnea can reduce average lifespan by 18 years
Sleep apnea exacerbates Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and stress on the heart by repeated
apneas throughout the night
Hypertensive patients on multiple medications for their condition have an 80% or greater chance of testing positive for sleep apnea
Sleep deprivation elevates Cortisol (stress hormone)
Sleep apnea is associated with heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, atria fibrillation, acid reflux/GERD, Hormone imbalance, impotence, weight gain among other disease processes
HOW CAN A DENTIST HELP WITH SLEEP APNEA?
Dr Marquez has a unique ability to help diagnose and treat sleep disorders. He has taken extensive, post-graduate training in dental sleep medicine. Furthermore, Dr Marquez is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. We realize that sleep breathing disorder a lot more common than we ever imagined. Not only can we help screen and diagnose the problem, we also work with your sleep physician in treating sleep breathing disorder. One of our most effective treatment options is the use of an oral sleep appliance to help keep your airway open and let you get a good night’s rest. These oral sleep appliances are small, portable and comfortable and can be a tremendous help to anyone who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and can’t wear a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask. Properly fitted, they can be as effective as the CPAP in mild to moderate sleep apnic cases. This may be an alternate treatment to the CPAP. There are other alternatives to the CPAP such as surgeries that may give positive results. If this sound like something that may interest you, call us today for a screening appointment.