Common Sleep Disorder Wreaks Havoc on the Body

THE TRUTH ABOUT SOME COMMON DENTAL MYTHS

The profession of dentistry has experienced an amazing evolution over its lifetime. References to tooth decay can be found in various ancient texts. At one time, a local barber would provide haircuts and pull troublesome teeth in the same shop. Dentistry evolved from these humble beginnings to what we know today: a structured medical discipline where patients benefit from evidenced-based care. Oddly enough, though, several oral health myths and misconceptions have failed to fade away....

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SIMPLE STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORAL HEALTH

On the list of common reasons people avoid the dentist, cost is usually near the top. It is a fact — some dental treatments are expensive. However, you have some control in working to avoid pricey dental procedures. Two of the best ways to avoid needing expensive dental treatments are to visit a dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning and following proper dental hygiene advice every day.

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COMMON SLEEP DISORDER WREAKS HAVOC ON THE BODY

The National Sleep Foundation estimates over 18 million adults in the United States, or about one in every 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing, resulting in disruptive sleep. Individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will experience a repetitive (partial or complete) airway collapse throughout their sleep, which prevents air from reaching the lungs.

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COMMON SLEEP DISORDER WREAKS HAVOC ON THE BODY

Because a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on the body, individuals who suspect a problem should ask their bed partner if they ever snore loudly, gasp for air or stop breathing. If so, they should consider an evaluation by a sleep specialist.


Sleep apnea is diagnosed by a sleep study, also known as polysomnography. It measures multiple parameters, including apnea (temporary cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more), hypopnea (reduction in breathing flow for 10 seconds or more) and minimum oxygen saturation. Findings from the study are used to calculate the apnea hypopnea index (AHI), which consists of the frequency of apneas and hypopneas per hour of sleep. A sleep study is typically performed by spending the night at a sleep center. After a diagnosis has been confirmed and depending on the level of severity, treatment options can be discussed.


The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure device, better known as a CPAP machine. Using a CPAP machine requires you to sleep while wearing a mask that covers the nose and/or mouth. The machine forces air into the nose and/or mouth during the duration of your sleep in order to avoid airway obstruction.


While the CPAP option is a very effective treatment, it does not always fit within the lifestyle of those suffering from sleep apnea. Many patients stop wearing it due to:



For those individuals seeking an alternative, other effective treatment options may be available. In fact, dental sleep appliances are the most common nonsurgical alternative for patients who have difficulty tolerating the CPAP device. Many medical insurance plans provide benefit coverage for oral appliance therapy. A dentist with specialized training in dental sleep medicine will help individuals find the right oral appliance for their needs as well as properly fit and adjust the device.


The oral appliance is a custom-made adjustable mandibular advancement device (MAD). While wearing the device, an individual’s lower jaw and tongue are positioned forward to maintain an open airway to improve breathing. The device is similar in appearance to a mouth guard with slight modifications. It offers an effective, non-invasive treatment that requires very little change to a patient’s lifestyle. Oral appliances make no noise, are easy to care for and are very convenient for travel. Individuals interested in this option will need to speak with their sleep physician to ensure it will meet their needs. Generally, those with mild to moderate cases make good candidates for oral appliance treatment.


The effectiveness of the oral therapy can be measured by little to no snoring, waking up rested and feeling rested through out the day and ultimately by repeating the sleep study with the appliance in the mouth to compare the results with the initial sleep study.


If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious complications, which include but are not limited to:



Additional alternative methods of treatment may include surgery, such as tonsillectomies should a person’s tonsils be enlarged, and lifestyle or behavioral changes such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking and sleeping in a different position. It is important to keep in mind these options may not provide a permanent solution and sleep apnea issues may return at a later time.

DR. THAMER MUSBAH

Dr. Thamer Musbah is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. His clinical interests include dental management of  obstructive sleep apnea, non-surgical treatment of oral and facial pain, dry mouth and oral lesions. Dr. Musbah sees patients at the UK Dentistry Turfland Clinic on Harrodsburg Road. More information about UK Dentistry is available at  www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/dentistry.

more articles by dr Thamer Musbah

The National Sleep Foundation estimates over 18 million adults in the United States, or about one in every 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing, resulting in disruptive sleep. Individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will experience a repetitive (partial or complete) airway collapse throughout their sleep, which prevents air from reaching the lungs.


Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea disorders. It affects all ages and both sexes, although it is more common in males over age 40 years. Other risk factors include obesity, large neck circumference, retruded jaw and a large tongue, tonsils or uvula.


Common symptoms of sleep apnea include: