Lots of times, people will say, “Oh, I just snore,” or “My spouse just snores.”
Are you tired of getting interrupted sleep every night? Are you tired of having a sore throat when you wake up? Are you just tired of being tired all the time? You may suffer from sleep apnea. S&G Family Dentistry can help you find solutions for your sleep apnea to help you get the rest you desperately need.
Obstructed Sleep Apnea means the airway is occluded and when you’re asleep, the air is not going through. One thing I find extremely interesting, all the muscles that we have in our neck area, none of them have a primary responsibility of keeping the airway open.
Now, when we’re sitting upright and awake, we do that. But when we lay down at night, the tongue, which is the culprit in Obstructive Sleep Apnea, falls back and initially, it narrows our airway. That causes snoring because the air has to go through a smaller opening now at a more rapid rate. And that increase in velocity causes it to vibrate, causing snoring.
And then the tongue falls back far enough and now the air can’t go in the nose, can’t go in the mouth and that’s when we have what we call an apneic event. In that the body keeps trying to breathe but it’s occluded here so the air can’t go in. When that happens, the CO2 increases, the oxygen level decreases and the brain goes, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Because you can go three or four days without food or water, but you can’t go three or four minutes without air. So when this occurs, the body sends out adrenaline and that adrenaline causes you to move, to jump, to do something to take a breath of air.
It takes milliseconds for it to go into the body, but it takes an extended period of time for it to get out of the body. So some people have 50 events per hour. So 50 times an hour they quit breathing. And you got this adrenaline. Adrenaline is the stress hormone. And that excessive adrenaline over an extended period of time has a direct effect on stroke, Alzheimer, cardiac arrest, hypo pressure diabetes, libido, weight gain, depression and now they’re even showing it has an effect on Afib and glaucoma.
So it’s not just my partner’s snoring and its annoying to me. But your partner could die.
Are you tired of getting interrupted sleep every night? Are you tired of having a sore throat when you wake up? Are you just tired of being tired all the time? You may suffer from sleep apnea. S&G Family Dentistry can help you find solutions for sleep apnea to help you get the rest you desperately need.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night. There are two main forms of sleep apnea:
Because we are site accredited here, what we do is that if a patient comes in and says, “I think I might have Apnea”, or because I’ve been doing this for so many years, we get a lot of people referred to us from their uncles, aunts, whatever. The first thing we do, if they don’t have a sleep study, is we can do an unattended home sleep study. Its about the size of a cellphone. They wear it one night, bring it back the next day. Then we can- As a dentist, we are not legally allowed to diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
That has to be done by a physician, but we can tell, because often times a patient will say, “Well, I’m not gonna go to a physician. I’m not gonna go do one of those overnight sleep studies.” Once they’ve seen us, and we’ve done our exam on them, and have educated them about Obstructive Sleep Apnea, then they go home and they do the sleep study. The next day we give them their results, and tell them, “Wow you had 30 events per hour.” This is shocking to them, because 30 times an hour, they quit breathing.
Now, within a week they’re usually in having a sleep study. It’s something that we aren’t the gateway, but we may open the gate to allow people to see what’s going on, and to get them headed in the right direction. They would go see their physician, and then they would come back to us. Since we are SITE accredited, both Dr G and I are both boarded in Dental Sleep Medicine. We cannot make an appliance for anyone that hasn’t been referred by a physician and had a sleep study. That’s just part of our practice here, and it’s better for the patients. It’s better for everyone.
I think the biggest thing, if you imagine or you think you may have it you most likely do. If you just listen to yourself and just that little voice back there saying, you know I wonder if I have obstructive sleep apnea. Get it checked out because nowadays it is so easy to take care of it. There's so many options. It doesn't have to be the CPAP. It doesn't have to be the full overnight study. It can be as small as an oral appliance and as small as a home sleep test. I think that's the most important thing. It's your health. If you were to just sit there and hold your breath for 10 seconds, well that's what some of these people do every single night. It has a direct affect on your health, your brain, your relationships. It affects so many aspects of the body.
- Central Sleep Apnea – Central sleep apnea is caused by a problem in the part of the brain that regulates your breathing as you sleep. This is a serious condition that you need to address.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea is when you stop breathing while you sleep due to a blockage in your airway, such as your tongue or tissues in your throat.
What causes sleep apnea?
There is not just one cause of sleep apnea. It can affect anyone regardless of age, ethnicity, or gender. Here are some of the risk factors associated with the development of sleep apnea symptoms.Read Transcript
A patient comes to me, and not everybody’s a good candidate. They come to me for maybe a 45-minute exam and I use a little device called a George gauge. That George gauge will let me see if I think they’re physically going to be a good candidate for an oral appliance. The other thing we take in, too, is weight. Weight’s a determining factor. Age. There are many things. If a person’s overweight, they may not be a really good candidate. We may be able to help them some, but not as much as we would like. If they are elderly, we can help them some, but it’s iffy how much we can help them. Neck size, for women who have a size 15 or greater, it’s more difficult. A man, 17 inch or greater, it’s more difficult. Tonsils, size of tongue, size of mouth, palate.
There is a whole group of things that we go through and examine. Then at the end of the visit, I use a little George gauge and determine if I think this is going to be a good candidate or not. After that, then I sit the patient up and I tell them, “Here’s why I think you would or would not be a good candidate.” At that time, in my mind, as I’m going through everything that I’m looking at, I’m starting to think, “Oh, well, this appliance will work. That appliance, this one, that one,” because currently there are about 250 different appliances out on the market. I use or I should say we, Dr. Grosdidier and I, use about 13 different ones depending upon what we’re doing.
Every single, you’re going to think I’m a nutcase, every single brand of appliance that I make for a patient, before I use that brand on a patient, I’ve actually had made for myself and tried it myself. In my mind, I know how these feel, and some of them may not work good for me, but, “Oh, that’ll work really good for this patient or that patient.” I think it’s a form of education that you can’t pay for. You can’t get anywhere, but trying all of those then lets me know, or a patient may say, “Oh, that doesn’t look like it’d be very comfortable.” I’ll say, “Yeah, well, when I tried it, here’s what I noticed and here’s what I could do,” so that I can empathize with the patient and what they’re going through.
- Overweight – Studies show that those who have excess body weight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Conversely, people who do not get treated for sleep apnea are more likely to gain weight. Dieting and exercise can help reduce symptoms for many people.
- Over Age 40 – Although sleep apnea affects people no matter their age, statistics clearly show a link between being over the age of 40 and developing obstructive sleep apnea.
- Larger than Average Neck Size – A large neck means more soft tissue in your throat, which means more of a chance for that tissue to block your airway. A large neck size for a man is considered to be 17 inches and 16 inches for women.
There are other risk factors that the dentists at S&G Family Dentistry may go over with you as we plan your treatment.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Heavy snoring can be the most common symptom associated with obstructive sleep apnea, but often woman do not report heavy snoring. You may also experience extreme fatigue throughout the day and be easily irritated due to your lack of quality sleep. Headaches, high blood pressure or diabetes may be present as well. Our office will help identify your symptoms and develop a plan to help.Read Transcript
Dr. Addy and I are both Diplomation in American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and our site is accredited. I believe there’s only probably a handful, maybe 25 or 30 offices in the United States who can say that. In this area, there’s very few doctors who have those credentials as well. I think as far as the Kansas City area we are definitely the forefront of that type of procedure, that type of treatments. Dr. Addy has been involved with this for a long time. Actually she’s going to be the president of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, she’s the president-elect right now, will be in a few years. We’re right there with all the cutting edge technology, cutting edge information, techniques, all these things that are where this industry is heading, we’re right on the cusp of that and know all of the information, our patients definitely get benefit from that.
Can S&G Family Dentistry diagnose my sleep apnea?
S&G Family Dentistry is accredited by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) to provide appropriate treatment, but it is not legal for our dentists to diagnosis your sleep apnea. The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may be discussed at your next appointment. If you are experiencing any symptoms we may encourage you to try our home ALICE, home sleep screening equipment. With this screening tool we are able to educate you regarding your specific situation and work alongside your physician to provide treatment for your sleep apnea or snoring.
What are my dental treatment options?
We offer custom-made oral appliances that will open your airway, and minimize the risk of obstruction while you sleep. This is a great alternative for many people who cannot tolerate their CPAP machine, even those with moderate to severe sleep apnea. In hardly any time at all, you can experience a dramatic difference in your quality of sleep, as well as eliminate disruptive snoring for both you and your bed partner.
The sleep apnea appliances that we provide are an adjunct to the multitude of services that are out there. Somebody might need to have a CPAP machine, somebody might need to have positional therapies. They have to just lay differently in a bed. There’s lots of things out there. We provide a service where you make an appliance that fits your teeth that’ll hold your jaw forward that opens up your airway. In people who are CPAP intolerance, it means they can’t wear a CPAP or they don’t want to wear one, this is the next line of treatment. It’s been shown through various avenues that it’s very effective and it’s actually been approved. Last year they come out, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the doctors came out with this new protocol and it put our appliances right up there as some front line treatments.
A lot of people don’t know that though. A lot of doctors don’t know that either. It’s been interesting to find that out over the last few years how much it’s not known of what we do. What we can do then is make that appliance fit your teeth, bring your jaw forward, open up your airway, and you can breath easy and have a good night sleep. I don’t know how much you guys know about sleep apnea, there’s two parts. If you’re not sleeping well at night, one, you’re tired during the day, a really quick version of it. The other is it can reek havoc on your cardiovascular system. There’s two avenues there that you can really get into. People usually have the daytime sleepiness. That’s what brings them in, then they figure out all the cardiovascular issues. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is something I have to treat.” They get the CPAP machine, can’t tolerate that or I don’t want to tolerate that, or they’re mild to moderate and can go right to an appliance. That’s where we fit in.
We’re an extension of the physician. The physician’s the one in charge. We’re not trying to make an appliance without a physician’s consent. They’re the ones running the show. We’re just helping them do their job. There’s a lot of people out there that are really doing well with the appliances and really like wearing them.
Often times, the way, the most important thing is a spouse or someone will say, “You quit breathing at night.” That’s the biggest red flag you can have. Snoring is an indication but if you quit breathing at night, that’s a huge huge indication. The first step would be to speak to your physician. Nowadays your primary care physicians are more familiar with Obstructive Sleep Apnea but not familiar enough to treat it. They may then refer you to a sleep physician who then would have you do a sleep study.
They look at that and Obstructive Sleep Apnea is divided into sections if you will. Since we are all apneic beings one to five of events per hour is considered normal, six to 16 is considered mild, 16 to 30 is considered moderate and anyone over 30 is considered severe. Nowadays you don’t see physicians as often sending a patient in for a CPAP immediately if you’re in the mild range. They’ll now say you have another option of an oral appliance. They didn’t used to do that but the oral appliances are so effective they can do that.
When you get up to the moderate range if a person, ideally you would probably want someone to do a CPAP but often times they can’t because they for whatever reason, they’re claustrophobic, the spouse doesn’t like the sound, there are many reasons so they may have an appliance. The same thing with a person who has severe apnea. First line of treatment’s a CPAP. If they can’t tolerate it, it’s an oral appliance. The first thing is to go see your physician.
The other thing too I think dental offices are becoming a lot more aware of it too and as a hygienist, all of our hygienists here are trained and they’ll look in your mouth and without you saying anything they might say, “Gee, anybody ever say you snore?” You’ll look up them and you’ll say, “Yes, how do you know that?” “Anybody ever say you quit breathing?” Well, yes, how do you know that?” Because as a dental professional there are signs in the mouth that we can tell you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and snoring.
Call our Leawood, KS office today at 913-298-6131 to schedule your appointment or request more information on sleep apnea or severe snoring. For information about our Snoring and Sleep Apnea Dental Treatment Center, please visit http://www.