Snoring and sleep apnea are two of the most common sleep-related breathing disorders. If you or someone you know snores, you might not think of visiting the dentist for treatment. The position of the jaws and related structures influences the development of sleep apnea, making the dentist a key professional in the diagnosis and treatment for select cases. Sylvania Township, OH dentist Dr. J. Eric Hires treats snoring and sleep apnea using custom made removable oral appliances and even surgery in extreme cases. The special dental devices fit comfortably in the mouth and are worn while you sleep to keep the airway open and prevent snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring by itself is generally not a health problem but it can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed causing a serious reduction of airflow to the lungs. Sleep apnea is a common and complex health condition affecting millions of Americans. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 50% of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea. It is typically caused by an obstruction of the upper airway during sleep resulting from the collapse of soft tissues at the back of the throat. The airway becomes blocked, and patients are momentarily unable to breathe, cutting oxygen off from vital organs.
There is no single cause for snoring or sleep apnea. Often times snoring is made worse by drinking, smoking or using sedatives. Patients who are overweight are also more likely to snore or suffer from sleep apnea. The prevalence of sleep apnea increases with age and it is estimated that as many as 50% of elderly men and women suffer from the disorder.
Symptoms of OSA
Diagnosing a sleep-related breathing disorder such as OSA typically involves the dentist as well as the patient’s physician and/or other specialists. The medical team may use diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, to examine the airway and look for signs of blockage. A sleep study may also be recommended to evaluate the quality of sleep. When you visit Hires Dental Care, a Sylvania Township, OH dentist office, they will review your medical history and discuss some of the signs that could indicate a sleep breathing disorder. Common signs include:
- Daytime sleepiness and the tendency to fall asleep while reading, watching television or driving
- Loud snoring
- Gasping while sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Problems with concentration, mood and mental clarity
Treatment for OSA
Sleep apnea appliances fall into two categories: fixed and adjustable. These are some commonly used sleep apnea dental appliances that we could use to treat your apnea:
- TAP® 3 (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)
- OASYS Appliance
- KlearwayTM Appliance
- Herbst Telescopic Appliance
A more permanent solution for OSA is to have surgery that sections the lower jaw and helps pull the bone holding the tongue forward slightly. This surgery has an impressive success rate and is simple for the dentist or oral surgeon to perform. The dentist needs to formally make a diagnosis of each individual case before recommending the best course of action.
Schedule a Consultation
If you feel you may benefit from OSA treatment, schedule an appointment with Hires Dental Care today. We offer treatment for sleep apnea is the Sylvania Towhship, OH, Toledo, OH, and Perrysburg, OH area. We gladly welcome new patients.