Sleep apnea is a disorder when a person stops breathing repeatedly while sleeping. The person starts and stops breathing multiple times in an hour. If you have health issues like diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and you are doing everything your doctor has recommended but are unable to get them under control. Also, if you snore at night, you may have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can be claimed as a culprit for a number of heath conditions. Your body heals itself and regenerates when you are sleeping. New cells and new nerves junctions are formed during sleep.
If a person has sleep apnea and they are stopping breathing, the oxygen level in the body drops. This effects every organ in the body as the body is trying to heal itself in less than optimal conditions. There is correlation between obstructive sleep apnea and low testosterone and also Alzheimer’s disease
Children can be diagnosed with sleep apnea. In fact, the guidelines to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in kids are much stricter than for adults. There is a strong link between sleep apnea and Add/ADHD in kids. 70% of kids who are diagnosed with ADHD have sleep apnea! In many cases enlarged tonsils and adenoids obstruct their tiny airway making it harder for them to breath. If your child has bedwetting issues or thrashing while sleeping or having difficulty at school, have your child screened for pediatric sleep apnea.
If your child has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and has symptoms even after the removal of tonsils or adenoids, the volume of their airway can be grown. The dentist who is trained to treat sleep apnea in children and help grow your child’s airway. This can be done by using expanders.There are traditional orthodontic dental expanders, Healthy Start, Myobrace, and Vivos appliance are some of the ways sleep apnea can be improved in your child.
In many cases there is a relation between teeth grinding/clenching and sleep apnea. Grinding of your teeth also called nocturnal bruxism is your body’s way of performing CPR. If you are constantly breaking your filling and crowns and chipping your teeth. If you gag during your dental appointment, you may have sleep apnea. Ask your dentist if they can help you seek treatment for obstructive sleep disorder.
As a dentist I think I have a unique advantage to evaluate patients for obstructive sleep apnea. When you are laying back in the chair I have a direct visibility to the airway opening. If you are a clench or grind your teeth or gag and break the crowns and fillings I usually screen for obstructive sleep apnea. If you gag during the dental appointment there is a high chance that you may be candidate for home sleep test.
What are the treatment options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
CPAP is the gold standard for obstructive sleep apnea. If you are able to tolerate CPAP, you should use it, if for any reason you are unable to tolerate CPAP, MAD may be an option for you. MAD is also called a dental appliance. It moves the jaw forward ever so slightly and opens up the airway helping you breathe better. There are numerous designs of the oral appliances. There are thousands of appliances that are FDA approved and they can treat sleep apnea. The ideal option for you will be determined by your dentist who is trained to treat obstructive sleep apnea.