Tag Archives: sleep dentistry

Think You Have Sleep Apnea? Find Out for Sure to Get the Right Treatment

sleep apnea.

Fatigue, irritability and family complaints about snoring — all tell-tale signs you may have sleep apnea. There’s more to this condition than being grouchy the next day — the long-term effect could increase your risks for life-threatening diseases.

But how do you know if you actually have sleep apnea? And if you do, what can you do about it?

Undergo an exam by a physician trained in “sleep medicine.” Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked while you sleep, dropping the body’s oxygen levels; your body awakens to re-open the airway. The event may only last a few seconds, but it can occur several times a night. Even so, sleep apnea is one potential cause among others for snoring or fatigue. To know for sure if you have sleep apnea you’ll need to undergo an examination by a physician trained to diagnose this condition. He or she may then refer you to a dentist to make a sleep appliance if you have mild to moderate apnea.

Determine the level of your apnea’s intensity. Not all cases of sleep apnea are equal — they can range in cause and intensity from mild to advanced, the latter a reason for concern and focused intervention. Your physician may use different methods for determining the intensity of your case: review of your medical history, examining the structures within your mouth or having your sleep observed directly at a sleep lab. Getting the full picture about your sleep apnea will make it easier to develop a treatment plan.

Match the appropriate treatment to your level of sleep apnea. If you have moderate to advanced apnea, you may benefit from continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, an electrical pump that delivers pressurized air through a mask worn while you sleep that gently forces the airway open. It’s quite effective, but uncomfortable to wear for some people. Advanced cases may also require surgery to alter or remove soft tissue obstructions. If, you have mild to slightly moderate apnea, though, your dentist may have the solution: a custom-fitted mouth guard that moves the tongue, the most common airway obstruction, down and away from the back of the throat.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, see a trained physician for an examination. It’s your first step to a good night’s sleep and better overall health.

If you would like more information on sleep apnea treatments, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation.

Find Out Why You or Your Partner Snores – it may be Sleep Apnea

snoring.

If your sleeping partner snores, it could be more than an annoyance: it could be a sign of sleep apnea. This occurs when air flow into the lungs becomes obstructed in the throat for a few seconds during sleep. The obstruction can take many forms, but a common one arises from the tongue relaxing against the back of the throat, producing snoring sounds as air attempts to pass through this restricted area.

Sleep apnea can cause severe problems: lower daily energy levels and mood from poor sleep; lower oxygen saturation that could affect brain function; and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. So, if you’re awakened by your partner’s snoring (or they’re complaining about yours!), it’s important to have it checked and treated.

This begins with a visit to us for a complete oral examination. Like many dentists, we’re well trained in the anatomy and structures of the mouth, as well as the causes and treatment of sleep apnea. We’ll examine your mouth, take into account any possible symptoms you’re experiencing and, if your suspicions are correct, refer you to a sleep physician to diagnose if you have sleep apnea.

Treatment will depend on its cause and severity. An oral appliance worn during sleep is the recommended first treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea that involves the tongue as an obstruction. We develop a custom appliance that helps move your tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing both apnea and snoring sounds. For more advanced sleep apnea you could benefit from a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This device generates continuous air pressure through a mask worn while sleeping that helps keep the airway open.

Of course, there are other causes for obstruction, some of which may require surgical intervention to relieve the problem. Abnormally large tonsils, adenoids or excessive soft tissue can all restrict air flow. Surgically removing or altering these structures could help reduce airway restriction.

Whatever type or degree of sleep apnea you or your partner may have, there are solutions. The right treatment will not only improve overall health, it will help both of you get a better night’s sleep.

If you would like more information on sleep apnea and how to treat it, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “If You Snore, You Must Read More!

Sleep Apnea and Behavioral Problems in Children: How Your Dentist Can Help

sleep apnea in children.

We all know how much better we feel after a good night’s sleep: refreshed, energized and ready to handle — even excel at — our day-to-day responsibilities. Yet millions of people, young and old, are robbed of a good night’s rest by sleep-related breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, in which the soft tissues in the back of the throat block the airway during sleep. This temporarily disrupts airflow, causing numerous “micro-arousals” (sleep interruptions) that we may not even be aware of. A lack of sleep can make us drowsy, irritable and unfocused. In children, these typical symptoms of sleep apnea can lead to mistaken diagnoses of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The relationship between sleep apnea and behavioral problems has been highlighted in several recent scientific journal articles, including a major study published several years ago in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The lead author, Dr. Karen Bonuck, said at the time: “We found that children with sleep-disordered breathing were from 40 to 100 percent more likely to develop neurobehavioral problems by age 7, compared with children without breathing problems. The biggest increase was in hyperactivity, but we saw significant increases across [other] behavioral measures.” Therefore, an accurate diagnosis of a child’s behavioral problems — leading to the right treatment — is crucial. While sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a physician, treatment for the condition is often provided by a dentist.

What can be done for children suffering from sleep apnea? The most common treatment is surgical removal of the tonsils or adenoids. This treatment can be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, a dentist who has received several years of post-graduate surgical training. There are several other procedures oral surgeons can perform to open the airway, depending on what anatomical structures are blocking it.

Sometimes a child with sleep apnea can benefit from a procedure to expand the palate (roof of the mouth) to enlarge the airway. This is not a surgical treatment but rather an orthodontic one. An orthodontist (a dentist who specializes in moving teeth) will fit the child with a palatal expander, a butterfly-shaped device that gradually separates the two bones that form the upper jaw and roof of the mouth. This is often done to prevent crowding of teeth and other bite problems, but has been shown in some cases to improve airflow.

There is another dental approach used to treat adults and older children, whose jaw growth is complete. It’s called oral appliance therapy, and it involves wearing a custom-made device during sleep that resembles a sports mouthguard or orthodontic retainer. An oral appliance can maintain an opened, unobstructed, upper airway during sleep in various ways, including: repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula; stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue; increasing the muscle tone of the tongue.

If your child has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can help you find the best treatment approach. For more information, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry” and “Snoring & Sleep Apnea.”

Sedation Dentistry Changes the Way Consumers Feel About Dental Hygiene

Dentists are one of the most feared medical professionals in the industry, and dentists themselves are often bewildered by this fact. A dentist is there to help, to improve oral health, and to alleviate discomfort or problems with teeth. Why, then, are so many patients irrationally afraid of these medical professionals? Part of the reason may be because of the intimate nature of dentistry. Having a strange person’s fingers in your mouth is uncomfortable, embarrassing, and sometimes even painful. The fear of dentistry may be due to a past experience of pain or discomfort. It may also be due to feelings of guilt regarding poor dental hygiene habits. Any or all of these reasons may be responsible for the large number of consumers who regularly skip dental checkups because of fear.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry, however, may be an alternative to playing hooky with the dentist. During a sedation dentistry procedure, general anesthesia is delivered to the patient, which puts the patient to sleep. While the patient snoozes, the dentist and hygienist are able to perform the entire dental checkup.

Is it Risky?

As with any medical procedure, there are some risks associated with sedation dentistry. Most of these risks are simply associated with an adverse reaction to the anesthesia used during the procedure. However, a professional dentist who utilizes sedation dentistry techniques will always have the necessary equipment and training to monitor patient health and identify any potential problems or reactions to anesthesia medication.

Your dentist will also perform a thorough medical history check and initial interview to determine if you are a good candidate for sedation dentistry. The risks, of course, are far outweighed by the potential benefits of sedation dentistry. For individuals who would pass up regular dental checkups because of an irrational or real fear of dental exam pain and discomfort, sedation dentistry is a valuable alternative. With sedation dentistry, the patient is allowed to sleep peacefully and contentedly, unaware of the dental procedure. When the anesthesia wears off, the patient awakes with minimal discomfort, and the dental checkup has already been completed.

Sedation is already used in many dental surgeries, and it is becoming more and more popular as a tool for regular dental checkups. If dentist phobias are getting in the way of your oral health, talk to your dentist today about sedation dentistry. Whenever there’s a problem, the best solution is to “sleep” on it.

Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics, PC’s, Rene Tanquilit, DDS is a general dentist certified in sedation dentistry.  Call us at 815-741-1700 to set up your appointment with Dr. Tanquilit or request your appointment online.

Article provided by: Dr. Goldberg’s downtown Toronto dental office specializes in Root Canals Toronto treatments and procedures.They offer same-day same day common Emergency Dental Toronto.