Wednesday, July 1, 2020

What is Dental Sleep Medicine?

By definition, according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine,  Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of practice that focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, through the use of oral appliance therapy and/or upper airway surgery.

More and more dentists are entering into this field of treatment.  The way it works is this: A qualified physician diagnoses the condition through a series of studies done on the patient,  then the dentist provides treatment; ( i.e. usually a custom fitted oral device, worn during sleep and designed to keep the airway open by supporting the jaw and tongue.)

A loved one may notice heavy snoring or interrupted breathing patterns that can happen many times during the sleep cycle, however, if you live alone the following signs could be an indication that you may need to be checked out:

                  Mild to heavy daytime sleepiness
                  Morning headaches
                  Depression
                  Decreased libido
                  Inability to concentrate

Additionally, if you are overweight  you may have a higher risk for sleep apnea.  Essentially, through oxygen deprivation and lack of refreshing sleep, this disorder can wreak havoc on your body over time. It can put you at risk for high blood pressure, stroke and even heart attack, not to mention the risk of sudden death while sleeping due to the closing of the airway.

Many people have this disorder and are unaware of the danger it poses.  It is effectively a silent killer.  If you think you or a loved one may have this, contact your healthcare provider and arrange for a screening.  It could save your life!

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