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Timber! Sawing Logs Due to Sleep Apnea

Aug 25, 2016

By Dean George

“Sawing logs.” “Honking.” “Raising the roof.”

Phrases like these are polite ways of describing snoring. Whatever it’s called, snoring affects 90 million American adults, including 37 million on a regular basis. Often associated with males, snoring isn’t gender exclusive – it’s an equal opportunity sleep disrupter affecting male and females.

MRD

About half of the people who snore loudly on a regular basis (like a freight train) have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when breathing starts and stops while asleep.

As previously reported in Dental Wire, there are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). The former occurs when the throat muscles relax, the latter when the brain stops sending signals to the breathing control muscles.

Symptoms of OSA other than snoring include morning headaches, fatigue, chronic daytime sleepiness, irritability and impaired concentration.

Not everyone that snores and snores loudly (loud enough to wake the dead) has sleep apnea. Sometimes loud snoring is caused by obesity, nasal obstruction, smoking, alcohol, swollen tonsils and loss of muscle tone in the pharynx due to aging. Snoring can also occur during pregnancy and after menopause.

The best way to learn whether or not snoring is caused by sleep apnea is to be evaluated by a doctor. The evaluation may include a home apnea sleep test or an overnight sleep study.

If a doctor does diagnose loud snoring (saws both ways coming and going) as sleep apnea, don’t be surprised if the recommended treatment includes working with a dentist – especially if the diagnosis is OSA.

There are more than 100 oral appliances approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the treatment of sleep apnea.

One of the most popular used to correct mild to moderate cases of OSA is an oral appliance worn in the mouth while sleeping. The mandibular repositioning device (MRD) fits like an athletic mouth guard or orthodontic retainer.

These oral appliances support the jaw in a forward position, pushing the tongue and lower jaw down slightly to help maintain an open airway. This helps ensure better breathing while sleeping. The use of these devices while sleeping help alleviates abnormal breathing in about half of the people who use them.

As previously reported in our blog post about custom made mouth guards, those using oral breathing devices should consult a dentist or orthodontist to ensure a proper fit. A custom fit can help prevent damage to teeth, gum tissue, and jaw joints that can cause discomfort when waking up. Children using such devices for sleep apnea need to be refitted periodically as they grow.

Oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea are covered by many dental plans. Click here to find plans available in your area.

Sources: sleepfoundation.org, aadsm.org, WebMD.com, medicalvideos.us
Photo source: deardoctor.com, medicalvideos.us


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