Sleep apnea is a diagnosis that have a direct affect on one’s total health. Between 50-70 million Americans have some form of chronic sleep disorders, including snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) but only 15% know about it. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness alone costs $150 billion annually in lost productivity and mishaps from a lack of nightly sleep. Another $48 billion in medical costs related to motor vehicle accidents that involve drowsy drivers. Almost 20% of all serious car crash injuries are associated with driver Excessive Daytime Sleepiness.

Things to look out for in regards to sleep apnea are:

Obesity, neck larger than 17″ for males and 15″ for females, small lower jaw in relation to the upper jaw, and the older you are the higher the risk. The tissues in the pharynx area of the throat get loose and excessive so it leads to airway closure during sleep.

This problem with the stoppage of breathing occurs when the throat area closes down when excessive tissues encroaches upon the airway space. If the breathing is stopped for more than 10 seconds period of time it is called an episode. Sleep apnea is quantified:

  • Mild-5-15 episodes per hour
  • Moderate:16-30
  • Severe: greater than 30 per hour.

The more episodes one has correlates to more severe problems. You can often hear one who is snoring heavily and then will gasp and find it is silent. They will then make a big gasp to try to catch their breath.

Every time they gasp this wakes them up from a deeper level of sleep. Without the deep levels of sleep the body can’t get refreshed therefore sleep deprivation takes place. It is as if someone wakes you up every other minute!

The body has to arouse itself by using epinephrine which then speeds up the heart, places pressure on the lungs and completely stresses the body. These stresses affect the systemic organs of the body leading to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The gold standard is to use a cPAP positive pressure mask which blows air down the trachea to force air into the lungs. Many people are not compliant with this device and desire something more comfortable. This is where we come in. It is possible to us an oral appliance called an orthotic to move the lower jaw forward. This opens up the airway to allow more passive non restricted air flow into the lungs. Many people can’t get used to a mask on their face and choose to be more comfortable with this type of device.

If you do wear a cPaP and aren’t happy with it give us a call to discuss the options. Our phone number is (586)247-3500.

Dr. Antolak Performs dentistry in a very comfortable atmosphere where you are treated like family. The Gentle Dentist is located in Shelby Township, Michigan and provides dental services to patients in Macomb County and Oakland County, Michigan