TYPES OF SLEEP DISORDERS
RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
PLMD (Periodic Limb Movement Disorder)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Central Sleep Apnea
Acid Reflux or G.E.R.D (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease)
Read more details about Sleep Disorders in our Patient Guide:
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is marked by interruptions and pauses in breathing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of an obstruction of the airway, such as the tongue rolling back in the throat or collapsed tissues in the airway. Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to several serious health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and liver problems.
Sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a sleep physician. We recommend that you talk to your dentist, as well as your doctor, if you suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea. Common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Extreme drowsiness during the day
- Personality changes and irritability
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Awakening with a very dry or sore throat
- Frequent morning headaches
Sleep apnea treatment may depend on the severity of the condition. If you suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, our dentist may recommend an oral appliance. The oral appliance works to treat obstructive sleep apnea by fitting over your teeth and keeping your airway open while you sleep. It can also prevent the tongue from blocking the airway, or by holding your jaw in a position that prevents the airway from becoming blocked while you sleep.
WHAT CAN DENTISTS DO?
Dentists often deal with two kinds of sleep-disordered breathing: snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring is very common but it is not considered dangerous to your health. But obstructive sleep apnea, which is found in 20-50 percent of people who snore, is dangerous.
Simple snoring is treatable. By positioning yourself yourself to sleep with your mouth closed, breathing through your nose, and sleeping on your side rather then your back, you can reduce snoring. These steps keep the throat tissues from collapsing which is a cause of snoring.
If that doesn’t work, there are dental devices which are similar to mouth guards that may completely relieve the problem.
Instead of sending you to the hospital for sleep apnea testing, we can use a home testing device. If you have sleep apnea and are using a CPAP machine, we can improve your life by replacing it with a simple oral device.
Usually, a sleep study to measure brain activity, breathing and movement during sleep is done in a “sleep lab” which can be quite uncomfortable. Why not do it in the comfort of your own home?
The use of a facemask with a variable rate and air pressure delivery system (called a CPAP machine) has been the most commonly used therapy. Most patients do not need to use the masks. A simple, comfortable dental appliance can be used instead.
Oral appliances that a dentist can make have proven to be very effective and much more comfortable than wearing a mask. Wearing the appliance is similar to wearing a double nightguard. A dentist can work with your physician to evaluate and treat your sleep apnea. So if you are snoring, tell your dentist. Our treatment could add years to your life.