Sleep Dentistry or Dental Sleep Medicine is focused on the use of dental appliances to treat disordered breathing during sleep, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Do you snore? Or, does someone you know snore?
The answer may be yes if you:
Disturb your partner’s sleep, have morning headaches, feel tired during the day, suffer from high blood pressure or night time gastric reflux, wake up gasping for air and fall asleep at inappropriate times.
What causes Snoring?
During sleep, muscles and soft tissues in the mouth and throat relax. This leads to a narrowing of the space through which air flows from the mouth into the lungs.
Since the space is narrower, the speed of the air flow during breathing is increased. As a result, the soft tissues in the throat, such as the soft palate and the uvula vibrate, and these vibrations result in “noisy breathing” or snoring.
The Dangers of Snoring
It is estimated that more than 90 million Americans snore. Taking into account the snorer’s partner and children, more than 160 million people are negatively affected by snoring.
Snoring not only interrupts the sleep cycle, the struggle for breath can result in soaring blood pressure, which can damage the walls of the carotid arteries and increase the risk of stroke.
In fact, studies have shown that loud snorers are 10 times more likely to have thickening of the artery walls than non-snorers.
In addition, if the blockage of the airway by the tongue and throat is complete, it leads to stoppage of breathing, and if this stoppage lasts for more than 10 seconds, it is called Sleep Apnea, a medical condition with serious long-term effects. (We will discuss Sleep Apnea next week)
Where does dentistry fit into the snoring picture?
There are many methods used to minimize or eliminate snoring. Surgical techniques have been used to remove airway-blocking structures, but have shown only moderate success.
The CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the most commonly prescribed treatment, requires the snorer to wear a mask over the face or nose during sleep.
The machine, placed at bedside, blows pressurized air into the mask to help keep the airway open during sleep.
However, most people do not like having to wear a mask with tubing every night, and do not like having to carry the machine with them.
At Pearl Dental Arts, we can offer snorers the most affordable, non-invasive, comfortable and effective solution for snoring. We can make them a custom-fabricated dental device that they wear at night when sleeping.
This device helps to hold the lower jaw into a forward position during sleep, increasing space in the airway, reducing the air velocity and soft tissue vibration. The fit is excellent and comfortable and allows unrestricted breathing.
So if you or someone you know has a snoring issue, you can set up an immediate appointment for a free consultation to evaluate what option is best suited for you. Call us at 215-949-8000 or contact us online.