At www.thegentledentist.com we are concerned about the overall health of our patients and one of the treatments we can team up with the physican is treating Obstructive Sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a chronic disorder where patients usually start off snoring and then during the deepest part of the snore will evolve to gasping for air after a period of time when no breathing is present. This closure and obstruction of the air passage can create a number of problems with the patient:
- Chronic sleepiness has been shown to increase traffic accident incidence.
- High blood pressure. Because the body senses a drop in oxygen in the blood stream it is critical for the adrenal glands to send a surge of adrenaline into the blood stream which increases the heart rate and increase blood pressure. Over time this creates a lot of stress on the body and can lead to a heart attack.
- Diabetes. This high blood pressure can affect the way that blood sugars are metabolized in the body.
- Impotence. For men their sexual drive can be affected
- Relations. Because snoring keeps the family up at night the use of such a device can provide peace for all concerned.
Treatment: The cPAP is a pressure filled mask that is plugged into the wall which runs a humidified air compressor which forces air down the trachea and into the lungs. This has a quiet buzz and is like a Darth Vator mask. Patients sometimes find it difficult to wear and decided to not wear it and end up being non complient.
The oral sleep appliance is different in that it is much smaller and convenient to use. Rather that forcing air into the lungs by pressure this oral appliance shifts the jaw forward and the soft tissues attached to the jaw open the air space. By eliminating the cPAP things are more comfortable and much more compatible. Keep in mind that the cPAP is the gold standard and is usually preferred by the sleep doctors but the problem is that the patients have a difficult time tolerating it. It is important for the patient using the oral appliance go through a series of exercises during the morning after waking up. This 10 minutes is important because it reseats the jaw back into where it needs to go and when doing so the bite is not affected.
It is important for your dentist to have a good understanding of the occlusion (bite) and the TMJ (Jaw Joint). If you have a cPAP and just can’t use it let us know about it. If you have some of these symptoms mentioned above let us know so we can refer you to a sleep physician and order a sleep study. Even though you may not think this is a problem you would be surprised to find out just how good you would feel with a good night sleep.
If you have comments or questions and are in the Shelby Twp. MI area please call us up at (586)247-3500 or email me at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com.