Sleep Disordered Breathing and its strange..uh..bedfellow: Dentistry
More and more research has confirmed how important sleep is for our lives. Good quality sleep is important for concentration, memory, mood and prevention of many diseases.
Probably the most serious sleep associated disease is that in which one periodically stops breathing during the night. This silent killer called sleep apnea is associated with strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and obesity. Some people have no symptoms of this at all; some feel unrested after they sleep or are aware that they snore.
Having sleep apnea puts a great strain on the heart. The American Heart Association estimates that someone with untreated sleep apnea will die 13 years earlier than normal (not even including the co-morbidity of strokes, heart attacks, hypertension and obesity). Fortunately, with the increased research and awareness of this disease, more people are being screened and if necessary, treated. The "at home sleep monitor" has also made the diagnosis more accessible and affordable for many people.
Traditionally, the first line of treatment for sleep apnea was a positive pressure air ventilator commonly known as CPAP. This is still the most common treatment for sleep apnea, though many people who use it have serious side effects or objections to it that cause them to discontinue use.
There is an effective dental alternative to this machine, which opens the airway and stops snoring. It is a mouth guard type appliance which supports that lower jaw in a slightly forward position and allows the throat to freely exchange air without the throat being obstructed.
I began making these appliances in 1997 and have found them extremely effective and well tolerated by patients (not to mention their grateful bed partners!!).
In addition to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, we treat other sleep problems from the perspective of optimal nutrition for good sleep, habits to help you sleep better and other natural solutions.
Problems that affect your sleep are serious business. Having better sleep can be life changing...and saving.