The Essential Role of Dentistry in Sleep Medicine
Sleep disordered breathing is often the result of deficient growth and development of the upper and lower jaws. When the upper and lower jaws do not develop fully, the deficiency can cause a collapse of the airway during sleep. This collapse can cause breathing to be obstructed. When this happens, the sympathetic nervous system directs the body’s rapid involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations. A flash flood of hormones boosts the body’s alertness and heart rate, sending extra blood to the muscles. This autonomic response prevents the mind from achieving deep, restful restorative sleep. Dr. Robinson has recieved advanced post-graduate training enabling him to be uniquely qualified to recognize the signs and symptoms of underde- velopment of the upper and lower jaws.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles that support the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax. When these mus- cles relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off. Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder.
Obstructive sleep apnea is seen in all age groups. Certain factors may increase the risk of OSA such as age and obesity. However, OSA affects millions of people of all ages who often do not fit the typical health profile.
Obvious symptoms of OSA may include snoring and daytime sleepiness. However, other less obvious symptoms may be present. Symptoms such as chronic depression, ADD or ADHD, Chronic Anxiety, Chronic Fatigue, Bruxism or grinding teeth and even adolescent bed wetting all may indicate sleep disordered breathing including mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Individuals who suffer from OSA will stop breathing for more than ten seconds sever- al times each hour. When the body remains in the sympathetic state this prevents deep restful and restorative sleep which can be the underlying cause of a variety of potentially serious health problems.
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious medical condition. Diagnosing OSA requires a sleep test which can be done at home. The home sleep test is comfortable and easy. Dr. Robinson can prescribe a home sleep syudy using a small ring worn on your thumb overnight while you are sleeping. The results of this sleep study are read and interpreted by a medical doctor who is a sleep specialist. The Vitaliti Ring utilizes a proprietary algorythm to measure the number of times you stop breathing during the night. It also takes other important biometrics to determine the quality of sleep you are getting each night. This test will establish a score called the AHI or Ap- nea–Hypopnea Index. Your AHI indicates the number of apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep. The apneas (pauses in breathing) must last for at least 10 seconds.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea may contribute to a variety of other health problems and is potentially a serious medical condition.
It is important that OSA is not left untreated. There are a variety of treatment options available. Dr. Robinson provides a unique treatment alternative that is designed to target the underlying problem—underdeveloped upper and lower jaws.
Your treatment plan may also include the use of Continuous positive airway pressure therapy of CPAP. It may also include nutritional guidance, myofuntional therapy and/or other procedures. Dr. Robinson will be able to design an effective treatment plan to address your individual needs.
It is important to realize the impact that OSA can have. OSA should not be ignored or left untreated.