Comprehensive Aesthetic Dentistry
Did you know that sleep apnea can be treated with dental appliances? Millennium Dental Clinic is proud to offer our patients, solutions for this condition! Ask us how we can help.
Are you suffering from sleep disturbance from someone’s snoring – or perhaps you’ve been told that your snoring has been keeping family members awake at night? Snoring is not only disturbing, but could also be a sign of a significant health problem known as sleep apnea.
The term “sleep apnea” refers to pauses of 10 to 30 seconds in breathing during sleep which disturb the normal sleep cycle. According to the Lung Association of Canada, 26% of adults have a high risk of having or developing this condition and 2 – 3% of children are likely to have it.
If snoring is severe and you suspect that sleep apnea, your first line of action should be to see a doctor. Once diagnosed, speak to your dentist about dental treatments for this condition. In the meantime, this article will help you identify the symptoms and understand more about it.
What are the symptoms?
There are a number of symptoms that could indicate this condition. One of the key indicators is excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be explained. Another key indicator comes from feedback from a loved one who witnesses the snoring behavior: snoring with pauses in breathing that last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, accompanied by gasping or choking during sleep. Additional symptoms that can accompany these include:
- Morning headaches
- Memory loss
- High blood pressure
- Lack of concentration
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is the medical standard treatment for sleep apnea. This is considered to be the best treatment for it; however, it has the drawback that many users find it too uncomfortable to wear while sleeping. Your doctor may recommend an alternative treatment in the form of a dental appliance.
Dental devices are effective treatment options and are more comfortable for the patient during sleep. We use the MicrO2 oral appliance by MicroDental Laboratories. MicrO2 is an FDA approved device made from a strong and durable material. It is an adjustable device with no moving pieces.
Oral appliances, like the Micro2, work by a moving the lower jaw forward. These devices increase the diameter of the airway behind the tongue, reducing snoring and obstructive respiratory events during sleep.
Dental Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Dental sleep apnea devices are effective and offer much less challenge for the user in terms of getting comfortable during sleep. At a basic level, these appliances work by holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position during sleep.
There are many different types of dental appliances available. If a dental apnea device or appliance is recommended by your doctor, it’s best to consult with your dentist to find the ideal type of sleep apnea treatment.
How is sleep apnea linked to other health conditions?
The average life expectancy for someone with an undiagnosed condition is as low as 55 years. This is related to the fact that a disturbed sleep, reduces the amount of oxygen to the brain, heart and other major organs of the body and leads to a build-up of waste products that would otherwise normally have been exhaled.
Many sleep apnea patients exhibit signs of diabetics and obesity. Studies (though not conclusive), have linked it with many other health problems, including a four-fold increase in the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease.
Other linked health conditions include:
- Kidney failure
- Nerve disorders such as epilepsy
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Eye problems such as glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, and various infections
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Weight Gain
Please do not hesitate to discuss any Sleep Apnea issues with our Millennium Team doctors, or ask a question using our contact form or call 403 236 4443.