Can Dentistry Help Sleep Apnea and Snoring?

dental sleep appliance nanaimo dentistSleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects a great number of people.  According to the Lung Association of Canada, 26% of adults have a high risk of having or developing sleep apnea and 2 – 3% of children are likely to have sleep apnea.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in dangerous daytime sleepiness, and has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke and recently has been implicated in connection with periodontal disease.

We’ve all heard of sleep apnea, which refers to pauses of 10 to 30 seconds in breathing during sleep which disturbs the sleep cycle, and fear this sleep disease that seems both hard to identify and treat.  The question is, can your dentist help you treat sleep apnea?

Using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea

Our dentists at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group are trained in using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea.  This scientifically proven solution makes sense if you understand how sleep apnea occurs.

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by airway blockage when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat relaxes and collapses during sleep.  Dental appliances are simply designed to change the jaw and tongue position to reduce or prevent the blockage of the airway. Worn during sleep, dental apnea devices treat sleep apnea by holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position.

There are many different types of dental apnea appliances for sleep apnea available. We invite you to consult with your dentist at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in regard to the ideal type of apnea sleep treatment for you.

Symptoms of sleep apnea

If you are suffering from some of the following symptoms and feel that sleep apnea may be the cause, please contact our Downtown Nanaimo Dental office to arrange a consultation.

The two main symptoms of sleep apnea to be aware of are: excessive daytime sleepiness that cannot be explained; and snoring with gaps or delays in breathing

Other frequent symptoms that may accompany the above include: fatigue; depression; lack of concentration; high blood pressure; irritability; gasping or choking during sleep; morning headaches; memory loss; and impotence.

Can snoring also be treated with a dental appliance?

Like sleep apnea, snoring is caused by a reduced flow of air while sleeping.  The difference is that in the case of sleep apnea, breathing temporarily stops for a period of time. Read more about what causes snoring and modern dental solutions to snoring in an article written by Dr. Larry Hill, retired dentist from Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

If snoring is an issue for you or your spouse or family member, a sleep specialist must first test to determine if the case involves sleep apnea. If the problem is determined to be snoring, a dental appliance can be used to keep the jaw forward and reduce the partially blocked airway that makes the sound of snoring.

How can I get started?

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances to treat sleep apnea and snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation today.  We look forward to serving you soon!

Do Dental Appliances Work for Sleep Apnea?

If you suffer from sleep apnea and are looking for an alternative to CPAP treatment, look no further than dental sleep appliance for sleep apneayour dentist.  Do dental appliances work for sleep apnea?  According to an American Sleep Association report, it’s a “yes”:

“… dental appliances are becoming more common as new research solidifies their efficacy in treating mild-moderate sleep apnea and snoring. It is important to work with your doctor and dentist to find an appropriate device for you.”

What is sleep apnea?

If you suspect that you suffer from sleep apnea, your doctor will prescribe a sleep test to determine if this is the case.

People suffering from sleep apnea periodically stop breathing as the airways restrict during sleep and then begin breathing again with a loud gasp or snort, also referred to as a ‘resuscitative snort’. The patient may also sit up or move violently before falling back into a light sleep.

Severe grinding of teeth is also common in apnea cases, as the body attempts to keep the airway open.  Naturally, this process of blocking and unblocking of the airway causes a significant disruption of sleep patterns leaving the patient feeling tired throughout the day.

How does the appliance work?

Sleep apnea oral appliances work by moving the jaw forward.  This change to the posture of the mouth acts to increase the size of the upper airway and reduce air resistance that leads to sleep apnea and as an added bonus, sleep apnea mouth guards are anti-snoring devices as well! Opening the airways stops sleep apnea and reduces airway turbulence and stops snoring.

Benefits of dental appliances

Sleep apnea dental appliances are portable and easy for the patient to transport.  The size of a mouth guard, they easily fit in your travel bag.

The biggest complaint from CPAP users is comfort.  Dental appliances may take some time to get used to, but do not impact the patient’s sleep position or overall comfort.

Is there a downside to sleep apnea dental devices?

One of the downsides of sleep apnea dental devices is that they do not collect data in the way that CPAP machines do.  Most modern CPAP machines have tracking software which shows the patient and healthcare providers the amount of hours of use and helps track respiratory events. There are, however, some new mouth devices that are made with technology that is able to measure hours of use.  Also, the effects of sleep apnea, such as light sleep and daytime fatigue are often noticeable with either choice of treatment.

How does sleep apnea differ from snoring?

Snoring is caused by a reduced flow of air while sleeping, whereas in the case of sleep apnea breathing temporarily stops for a period of time.  Read more about snoring in an article written by Dr. Larry Hill of Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group.

Can snoring be treated by a dental appliance?

If snoring is an issue, a sleep specialist will test you to determine whether or not sleep apnea is occurring. Dental sleep appliances can be used to treat snoring and are effective in the same way as with sleep apnea cases.

Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group in Nanaimo, BC, is proud to offer dental appliances and apnea appliances as an alternative to CPAP to treat sleep apnea as well as snoring and welcomes you to make an appointment for a consultation.

How Important is a Good Nights’ Sleep?

True or false: the negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep. sleep dentistry nanaimo True! According to research findings from the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation has severe consequences on your abilities.

Why is sleep so critical?

During sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons. Not allowing your body to do its work during sleep has several negative effects, including: slowing your ability to process information and solve problems, reducing your creativity, and increasing stress levels.

How does sleep relate to overall health?

Besides greatly affecting your ability to function in your daily life in everything from work to relationships, sleep deprivation is linked to a variety of serious health problems, including: heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Lack of sleep also has a host of negative health effects on your immune system, makes you look older, and for men, not sleeping enough reduces testosterone levels and lowers sperm count.

6 ways to improve your sleep

1. Limit caffeine intake

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that interferes with sleep by increasing adrenaline production. Since caffeine takes a full 24 hours to work its way out of your system, a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., will still have 25% of its effect by 8 p.m. Any caffeine in your bloodstream makes it harder to fall and stay asleep – and when you do fall asleep, caffeine interferes with the quality of your sleep.

2. Avoid devices that produce “blue light” near bed time

Sunlight contains high concentrations of this “blue” light which halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes you feel more alert. By the evening, your brain does not expect any blue light exposure and is very sensitive to it.

Unfortunately, most of our favorite evening gadgets such as laptops, tablets, televisions, and mobile phones—emit short-wavelength blue light. The best thing you can do is avoid these devices for at least an hour before bedtime – though television is okay for most people as long as they sit far enough away from the set.

3. Stop working late

Work in the evening stimulates the brain when you should be winding down and relaxing in preparation for sleep. Recent surveys show that roughly 60% of adults check their work emails up until they go to sleep. This can interfere with sleep.

Instead of checking in on work right until bed time, set a limit at which time you put away your work and allow your body to relax.

4. Take short naps

Most people feel sleepy in the early afternoon.  This is mainly due to a peak in melatonin production between 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.  In fact, you’re better off taking a short nap than relying on caffeine to keep you awake. A short nap will give you the rest you need and you’ll sleep much better in the evening than if you drink caffeine or take a longer afternoon nap.

5. Be aware of snoring or sleep apnea

A snoring spouse or sleep apnea could be robbing you of quality sleep.  If snoring is an issue, a sleep specialist can test to determine whether or not sleep apnea is occurring.

Dental sleep appliances can be used to treat snoring and even sleep apnea cases. The dental appliance is used to keep the jaw forward and reduce the partially blocked airway that makes the sound of snoring.  Contact our dental team at Downtown Nanaimo Dental Group for more information about dental sleep appliances and read more about dental devices for sleep apnea on our website.