As though to breathe were life!
Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson
A comprehensive dental exam doesn’t include just teeth. We screen for sleep apnea and oral cancer. There is a strong link between sleep apnea and high blood pressure, heart burn , depression, fatigue ,weight gain and ADHD in children. Even bruxism (teeth grinding) that we used to blame solely on stress, our Manhattan sleep apnea clinic now knows to be related to the body’s attempt not to suffocate!
Breathing is such a regular part of life that it is taken for granted – until there’s a problem. Irregular breathing during sleep falls into one of two categories – sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome.
- (Obstructive)Sleep apnea(OSA) involves the tongue or pharynx muscle restricting the airway, triggering the brain to wake during sleep to (re)activate the out of position muscles. Central sleep apnea occurs because your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
- UARS: Upper airway resistance syndrome is a common sleep disorder characterized by the narrowing of the airway that can cause disruptions to sleep. The primary symptoms include excessive fatigue and chronic insomnia.
When breathing becomes irregular during sleep, the lack of restorative sleep often manifests itself as any or combinations of problems such as:
- Daytime lethargy
- Sleepiness (which is a leading cause of automobile accidents)
- Difficulty concentrating and learning disorders
- Memory Loss
- Morning Headaches
- Attention Deficit Disorder and emotional disorders
- Short temper or hyperactivity
- Decreased libido
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Weight Gain
Treatment for sleep apnea and UARS typically follow one of two protocols – CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) or oral sleep appliances.
CPAP therapy involves a mask strapped over your mouth and nose that delivers pressurized air while you sleep.
Oral Sleep appliances are customized mouthpieces (similar to retainers) designed to reposition your lower jaw and tongue to optimally open air-passages. It is non-invasive, portable, and effective. By adjusting the lower jaw, tongue, uvula, and soft palate the functionality of the related muscle can improve with usage of the oral sleep appliance. We use dental appliances such as the HomeoblockTM for functional and esthetic enhancement.
Sleep apnea afflicts about 7% of the population and men are more likely to be diagnosed than women. Sleep apnea can affect women with normal weight as well.
While snoring is not an automatic indicator of sleep apnea, snorers are two to five times as likely to suffer from sleep apnea compared to the general population. Snoring may be irritating to other household members so book an appointment with Dental Wellness Airway’s Manhattan sleep apnea clinic for an evaluation to determine if you are a candidate for an oral sleep appliance.