Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Help You Live Longer!
According to the National Sleep Foundation, some form of snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects 90 million Americans. About 40% of patients over the age of 40 snore and half of them snore every night. Among habitually loud snorers, the incidence of OSA is 17% in men and 15% in women. An estimated 18 million Americans have OSA and 16 million remain undiagnosed. This is a very important cause for Dr. Sahota so she screens every patient, including children, are screened for this grave epidemic.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is associated with high risks for:
- Coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Arterial ribrillation
- Acid reflux (GERD)
- Impaired growth and bed wetting in children
- behavior and cognitive problems
What is the Cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is a sign of the airway narrowing. With weight gain the ability of the airway and tongue based musculature to expand the airway during normal respiration often declines. Narrowed airway increases the velocity of the air and a building up of a negative aspiratory pressure gradually stretch the soft tissues of the airway. When this continues, the airway is further blocked by the tongue being postured back in the throat as the person lies back during sleep. In Sleep apnea, the person can actually stop breathing for a few seconds until the protective reflexes of the body kick in the breathing resumes after a huge effort. Decreased oxygen and interrupted sleep has many deleterious effects on the body.
How can Obstructive Sleep Apnea be treated by a Dentist?
Dr. Sahota believes that Dentists play a key role in screenings, patient education and increasing the awareness about this issue. Once a sleep study is done and the proper diagnosis is obtained from the Sleep Specialist (MD),a plan is formulated.
With medical treatments alone you can alleviate some symptoms with weight loss, CPAP machines, surgery to remove tonsils, adenoids, soft palate and part of the tongue and nasal surgery. Upper and Lower jaws can be surgically repositioned forwards to make room for the airway.
Without surgery, mild to moderate cases, an oral appliance is indicated that helps reposition the lower jaw forwards to allow the tongue to posture away from the throat. Here’s an example of an appliance for snoring and sleep apnea:
Orthopedic and Orthodontic treatment
Sometimes the space available for the tongue to posture correctly in the mouth is inadequate, due to underdeveloped palate and narrow arches. Proper development of upper jaw and alignment of teeth and both jaws is very critical so the tongue can function optimally during speech & swallowing and rest well. It’s important to address issues like tongue thrust and tongue tie.
Orthodontic treatment with myofunctional appliances are used to correct such problems. A simple laser procedure can correct tongue tie painlessly.
Dr. Sahota keeps up with regular training in the field of sleep medicine. A visit to our office has made a profound effect on the overall health of the patients who were unaware of this problem, which makes our daily work very rewarding.