Sleep Apnea



SNORING/SLEEP APNEA

If you snore or your spouse snores or stops breathing periodically during the night, the answer may be closer than you think! With dentistry's new knowledge and diagnostic skills our office may provide assistance for the snoring or sleep apnea patient.

What's the difference between snoring and sleep apnea? Snoring is simply a breathing noise that is produced by the vibration of the soft palate and sides of the throat when air rushes in against them. It occurs when the airway collapses and the muscles fail to maintain their normal function.


Causes

Snoring may be caused by obesity, a small retruded jaw, sedatives, allergies or airway obstruction. For the majority of adults, snoring is not a serious medical disorder. However, when a person stops breathing for at least 10 seconds up to thirty times or more a night, this cessation of breathing is sleep apnea. Apnea puts a great strain on the cardiovascular system and may be the first sign of obstructive sleep apnea.


Diagnosis

Dr. Steinberg has advanced training to diagnose and treat snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. He may refer patients to a physician or sleep specialist for a complete medical assessment, including a polysomnogram (overnight sleep study). Along with a complete medical and dental history, the exam may also include a simple screening using:

  • Computerized Pharyngometer to measure the throat airway space
  • Computerized Rhinometer to measure the nasal airway
  • An intra-oral habit assessment
  • Checking of gag reflex
  • Evaluating periodontal health, diagnostic models
  • TMJ disorder and occlusal exam with specialized x-rays to assess whether the patient is a sleep appliance candidate.
  • Watch Pat – a computerized overnight sleep study performed at home

Treatment

A dental appliance can be custom made to cause a positive change in tongue position thereby opening up the airway. This orthotic or mouthguard is easy to wear, inexpensive and reversible.


BLOCKED AIRWAY

Where there is no airflow (during an apnea)


OPEN AIRWAY

Where airflows normally (unobstructed breathing)


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