Dental Sleep Medicine is a relatively new specialty of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep disorders. These disorders represent those that result from airway obstructions that occur during sleep.
It is estimated that obstructive sleep disorders affect 5% of the Western world, most of which go unrecognized and undiagnosed despite the substantial mortality rates associated with them.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition where the throat collapses during sleep, disrupting breathing and repeatedly rouses a person from sleep. Sleep experts estimate 80-90% of people with Sleep Apnea are unaware of their condition.
Risk for OSA increases with age and weight gain. Obstructive Sleep Apnea raises the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and driving accidents. Untreated OSA is frequently linked to cognitive decline. Symptoms can exacerbate or mimic dementia symptoms.
Sleep studies indicate that sleep-disordered breathing is strongly associated with the metabolic syndrome. A group of India-based researchers found that OSA patients were three times more likely to experience obesity, hypertension, diabetes, mellitus and hyperlipidemia (HLP). HLP patients have high blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
Dentists are in a unique position to be able to help. Since dentists see patients on a regular basis, they are in the unique position to screen for Sleep Apnea. If a screening indicates the patient is at risk for OSA, they can provide the most ideal treatment services.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Benefits
Improved cognitive function. Relieves excessive daytime sleepiness and hypertension.
Sleep Apnea is often disguised as dementia in older adults – treating Sleep Apnea improves attention, judgment and decision making
OSA treatment may reduce gastro esophageal reflux (GERD) by decreasing strain where the esophagus and stomach meet. GERD symptoms include heartburn and acid reflux.
A study in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that treating Sleep Apnea may help reverse infertility. The study identified changes in the serum prolactin (PRL) secretion, which affects fertility.
Better asthma control. In a recent study of sleep-disordered breathing and asthma, it was discovered that both disorders can go hand in hand negatively influencing sleep quality.
OSA not only affects the health and mood of sufferers, but it also impacts bed partners. A study from the journal Sleep and Breathing found that treating primary snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can improve a bed partner’ s depression.
A good night’s sleep can help keep weight down. The findings of several recent studies examining the relationship between weight gain and sleep deprivation, have indicated there is a possibility that the amount of sleep can influence weight gain.
Improved attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. A review of OSA and ADHD published 2011 in the August issue of Annals of Clinical Psychiatry found that 20% to 30% of patients with full-blown ADHD had OSA. After OSA treatment, patients saw improvement in behavior, attention span, and overall ADHD symptoms.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Is snoring disrupting your life or the life of a loved one?
Snoring can be more than a minor inconvenience, snoring can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Poor sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems. Snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea, a dangerous health problem. Sleep apnea actually cuts off the flow of oxygen to the brain, and in severe cases can cause serious damage.
How can Dr. Adams help?
Timothy C. Adams, DDS, D.ACSDD is specially trained in Dental Sleep as he earned a Diplomate in Sleep with the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines. With Dr. Adams extensive training and expertise in TMJ/TMD, Occlusion, Airway and Sleep Dentistry, he is able to diagnose and treat these multifactorial and challenging cases. Having trained and lectured side by side with the late Dr. James Garry and most recently with the talented Dr. Deepak Shrivastava, he has a unique understanding on how to treat these cases and how to avoid the pitfalls that are generally found with sleep patients. To understand the importance of how airway drives the stomatagnathic system is critical. Dr. Adams will evaluate you with a thorough exam and help you understand what causes snoring and/or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). During sleep, the tongue and the tissues of the throat and mouth relax and collapse into the airway making it smaller. The smaller size of the airway causes the air passing through to increase in speed which causes the soft tissues to vibrate, the vibrating tissues create the snoring noise. Depending on your particular clinical situation, Dr. Adams will create for you an individually crafted device known as a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). The MAD holds your mandible in a slightly advanced position, moving the relaxed tissues out of the airway and increasing the oxygen flow to the brain.
Oral Appliance Therapy.
By now you're probably wondering: What does my dentist have to do with all this? Here's the connection: Snoring or sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with an oral appliance available at the dental office that's designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction. This treatment is backed by a great deal of scientific evidence; it's a good remedy to try before moving on to more complicated breathing devices or surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat.
Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy used in managing SRBD. So if you or a loved one is experiencing any combination of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, a consultation with a dental professional is a good idea.
Signs and Symptoms
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious matter as it can lead to heart problems and other health issues. It's possible you may have OSA if you snore and also suffer from any of the following:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Poor memory/confusion
- Accident proneness
- Night sweats
- Morning headaches
- High blood pressure
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Bed Wetting with Children
- ACHD / ADD
How Dentistry Can Help
- Sleep Appliances
- Snoring Appliances
- Bruxing Appliances
- HomeoBlock Appliances