Sleep Disorder Dentistry
Good health includes healthy sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a prevalent but under-diagnosed disease. Sleep Apnea is a medical disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or episodes of shallow breathing during sleep. The most common form of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea: Loud snoring, Chronic Daytime Fatigue, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Choking or Gasping While Asleep, Witnessed Apneas, Morning Headaches, Dry mouth in the mornings, Acid Reflux/GERD, Frequent Trips to the Bathroom.
Insufficient oxygen during sleep, fragmented sleep, daytime sleepiness, and fatigue usually result in an overload of several vital organs and is linked to many problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, and depression, automobile crashes, work accidents, impaired work productivity, academic performance, early death and reduced quality of life.
Most people assume they are breathing and getting enough oxygen during sleep; few realize that nighttime teeth grinding and clenching (bruxing) is an unconscious effort to prevent suffocation. The repeated action all night long over extended periods of time wears down the skeletal structure and the joints resulting in TMJ pain, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, TMJ dysfunctions, and facial neuralgias, and teeth pain.
Treatment recommendations depends on the medical diagnosis, usually made after a Sleep Test. Depending on the diagnosis and severity of the condition, treatment may include wearing a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure device), Oral Appliances and TMJ/TMD treatment. Other recommendations include behaviour and lifestyle changes.
Oral appliances for an obstructive sleep disorder are unique and require a specific design, fabrication, and customized fittings. Specialized equipment is used to measure the airway and customize the design. These appliances normalize the jaw and tongue positions to achieve optimal breathing. To maintain success, regular follow up and monitor is required.
Children can also have sleep-disordered breathing. Adult therapies for OSA such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) would not be suitable for children as it would arrest skeletal development of the growing child.
At Deerwater Dental Wellness, our treatment goal for children is to naturally open up the airway to allow for better breathing and long-term health. Treatments may involve normalizing jaw development and growth, upper and lower jaw relationship changes, Myobrace / myofunctional appliances and myofunctional training, diet and lifestyle changes.
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