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Snore and Sleep Dentistry

Snore and Sleep Dentistry Sacramento

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Senior Dental Patients

Snoring is a problem worth solving

Millions of people in our country snore on a nightly basis. In fact, it is estimated that upwards of fifty percent of American adults are chronic snorers. While snoring is a recognized problem, the seriousness of the condition is often downplayed. The fact is that what is thought to be a snoring problem could be a far more serious condition, one that can affect every area of a person’s life. The lack of sleep that comes from chronic snoring can create challenges at work and at home, and also cause such daytime sleepiness that the snorer as well as those in his or her vicinity are at risk of injury from accidents.

Why is snoring such a problem?

Snoring in and of itself is not the primary problem. It is what snoring could actually be. Specifically, snoring could actually be a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. This condition is marked by loud, disruptive snoring followed by momentary silence. In the OSA patient, when the sounds of snoring pause, it is because airflow has become completely blocked . . .Breathing has stopped. In response to the lack of oxygen, the brain sends a shot of adrenaline through the body, kick-starting breathing. What this sounds like is a choke, gasp, or snort. Just one of these episodes significantly disturbs sleep. A person with OSA, however, can experience hundreds of these episodes each night – without knowing it. Why? Because the surge of adrenaline released by the brain is only enough to rouse sleep. It is not typically enough to cause full waking.

Obstructive sleep apnea may range from mild to severe, but is serious at any stage due to the effects of nightly sleep deprivation.

Physical effects of obstructive sleep apnea

This sleep disorder is far more serious than snoring alone. The physical ramifications of OSA are great, marked by a significant increase in the risk of compromised immunity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. The cardiovascular system is placed under a great deal of stress during apneic episodes. People with existing health conditions must gain control over obstructive sleep apnea in order to better manage health. Many times, people find that once they treat obstructive sleep apnea and get adequate sleep each night, conditions like gastric reflux and weight problems greatly improve. Relationships, as well, improve as bed partners are able to sleep better.

If you snore, you are at risk of obstructive sleep apnea

Most people who are affected by obstructive sleep apnea are middle-aged and older. However, even children can suffer from this sleep disorder. Sadly, research shows that obstructive sleep apnea is often missed and, therefore, untreated until a health problem occurs. It is often in addressing the health problem that obstructive sleep apnea is discovered.

What can be done?

If you or someone you love snore loudly or experience any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, a simple screening can determine the extent of the problem. There are two common treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea, one supplied by a medical practitioner, and one by your dentist.

The medical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is known as CPAP. CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Basically, it is forced air, delivered from a small air compressor machine through a mask, and into the nose/mouth. CPAP requires the patient to wear the mask all night, every night, or risk apneic episodes.

An alternative to CPAP is oral appliance therapy, in which your dentist designs a custom-made appliance that looks much like a mouth guard worn by athletes. This appliance is very comfortable, and aligns the jaw in such a way that the airway remains open during sleep, when the muscles around the throat relax.

Sleep apnea has a long list of risks. Don’t let these affect your livelihood. Contact our office today to schedule a screening for obstructive sleep apnea.

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