Mar 18

Car AccidentWhat role does Obstructive Sleep Apnea play in driving drowsy?
Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the dangers of text messaging while driving. While extremely dangerous, I believe that there is another aspect of driving that is even more frightening. It involves falling asleep at the wheel and getting into an automobile accident. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2008 Sleep in America™ poll, the odds a driver 18 or older has ever nodded off or fallen asleep while driving are 1 in 2.78. And the odds a licensed adult has had an accident or near-accident due to drowsiness in the past year are 1 in 50.

What is the cause of being overly sleepy? Many point to the increased workloads at school and at work, increased amounts of stress at the job. I would like to bring up the ever increasing problem with weight that has hit America, and consequently the increased prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that involves a collapse of the upper airway. This results in a decreased amount of oxygen that is available for the body to use. Several of my other blog posts have dealt with the signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. So, I won’t cover it again here.

What can we do to combat the ever increasing problem of drowsy driving?

I think that one really needs to pay close attention to the quality and quantity of sleep. If you sleep with someone else, you can ask that person if he/she ever notices if you snore or stop breathing while sleeping. If you have any of the signs or symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, see a physician that is well versed in treating people that have sleeping and breathing disorders. If you feel too tired to drive, don’t do it. Take a cab, have someone else drive instead, or go back to sleep. It’s far better than killing yourself or someone else.

From a national perspective, the toll from drowsy driving accidents is enormous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver fatigue causes at least 100,000 crashes reported to the police annually, resulting in about 1,550 deaths and 40,000 injuries each year.

If you live in the Orlando, Florida area visit Dr. Zach Hodgins of Winter Park,FL 407.647.1744. www.DentistStudio.com. He is a dentist that treats patients that have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea. He also treats patients that have severe sleep apnea and cannot tolerate a CPAP. The treatment involves making a custom fitted sleep apnea mouthpiece.

Mar 13

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosed and treated with a mouthpiece?

Sleep Studies Comments Off on How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosed and treated with a mouthpiece?

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) diagnosed?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition. It is a condition that is characterized by a person’s inability to breath when sleeping. This is due to a person’s airway being obstructed, usually by the base of the tongue or by the excessive soft tissue of the throat. Obstructive sleep apnea varies in severity, but is considered dangerous at any level. It must be diagnosed by a physician. Diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study, called a Polysomnogram (PSG). A PSG is usually carried out in a sleep center. Today the sleep centers resemble a nice hotel. These centers are readily available throughout the United States. When undergoing the PSG, or sleep study, several factors are being evaluated. These include: the level of oxygen in the blood, blood pressure, pulse rate, snoring sound levels, body positioning, and the stages of sleep. Once a proper diagnosis has been made the sleep physician will make a recommendation for the appropriate treatment. These treatments may include the use of a CPAP, or a sleep apnea mouthpiece that is made by a qualified dentist. The sleep apnea mouthpiece may be used for people that suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. A dental sleep apnea mouthpiece can also be used for those patients that can’t wear a CPAP for whatever reason. The dental sleep apnea mouth piece holds the lower jaw in a more forward position. This helps to open the airway and allows the patient to breath easier. A CPAP is the gold standard for patients that have obstructive sleep apnea, especially for those patients that suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea. However, many patients cannot tolerate the use of a CPAP. These reasons vary from the noise that the mask makes as air leaks from around the mask, to the feeling of being confined and claustrophobic. Many patients also report that the CPAP makes it difficult for their partner to sleep in the same room. Nevertheless, I still recommend that my patients follow their physicians instructions, and at least try their very best to use their CPAP. If they still cannot tolerate it, then I will make them a sleep apnea mouthpiece.

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Mar 05

Dr Zach Hodgins will attend the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine’s Annual Conference held on June 4th – 6th 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. Topics covered during the educational session will include:

The Effect of Mouthpiece Use During Exercise on Cortisol, Lactate and Airway Openings
Speaker: Dena Garner, PhD,

Combination Therapy: When Oral Appliances meet CPAP
Speaker: Ronald Prehn, DDS

Marketing the Dental Sleep Medicine Practice: Aa New Direction for 2010 and Beyond
Speaker: Laurence Barsh, DMD

Clinical Management of Oral Appliance Therapy: Titration, Teeth and the TMJ
Speaker: James Metz, DDS

Improvements in Neurocognitive Function and Heart Rate Variability with Oral Appliance Therapy
Speaker: Djordje Popovik, MD, PhD

Treating Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea with CPAP vs Oral Appliances: A Literature Review
Speaker: Jonathan Parker, DDS

Measuring Sleep: Using Monitors and Iimaging in the Dental Sleep Medicine Practice
Speaker: John Remmers, MD

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Mar 03

In my dental practice, I treat patients that suffer from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. These conditions are treated in my office in Winter Park, FL by using a dental sleep apnea appliance. During every new patient examination, I screen my patients for these conditions. This involves asking questions regarding the quality of their sleep, examining their airway, and observing physical characteristics such as neck size and the weight of the patient. It’s always amazing to me that the most common comment that I hear is, “You know what? No one has ever asked me these questions, especially a dentist.” I think that sleeping and breathing disorders are being widely overlooked by the medical profession as a whole, and that a serious effort to screen and treat patients that suffer from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea needs to be put forth. At the very least, dentists and physicians should ask their patients if they snore, and if they don’t know, ask their spouse. It is such an easy thing to do, and this can have such a tremendous effect on the lives of so many people.

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Mar 01

We recently had a family member from out of town visit us here in Winter Park, FL this past week. Winter Park is located right outside of Orlando, FL. As always, it was so good to see him and catch up with what’s new in his life. As the week went on, I noticed that whenever we were watching TV and relaxing, that he would fall asleep while seated. He would snore, and even visibly stop breathing for long periods of time. When he would sleep at night i could hear him snore very loudly as well. The next day I spoke to him about my observations and mentioned that he was exhibited quite a few signs and symptoms of having obstructive sleep apnea. I mentioned to him that his neck was greater than 17 inches in diameter, he was overweight, he snored, and that he stopped breathing on several occasions that I witnessed. He has excessive daytime sleepiness as well. I told him that obstructive sleep apnea can kill you. It raises the chance of having a heart attack by 6 times that of healthy person. The same goes for having a stroke. You are 6 times more likely to have a stroke if you have obstructive sleep apnea. So, I recommended that he have a sleep study done. I have a Watch Pat 200, which is a home sleep monitor that is approved by the FDA. It measures total sleep time, pulse rate, body position, snoring volume, time in each phase of sleep, blood oxygen saturation, desaturation events, and calculates the 3 sleep indices. He took the test that night, and I uploaded his results to a sleep physician’s site for the sleep doctor to read the study and diagnose his condition. It turned out that he has severe obstructive sleep apnea. He stopped breathing 271 TIMES during one nights sleep!!! Can you imagine holding your breath 271 times in one night and getting a good nights sleep? No wonder he was falling asleep so often during the day. He was exhausted and didn’t even know it. This is so dangerous, and why automobile accidents that involve people that have sleep apnea are such a problem. Since he has severe obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep doctor recommended a CPAP to treat his apnea. He will give the CPAP a try, and if he can’t tolerate the CPAP, I can always make him a dental sleep apnea appliance here in Orlando, FL. I am strongly encouraging him to use the CPAP, as it is the best treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea. I’m just so happy that he came to Winter Park, FL to visit, and that I was able to observe his problem. I’m sure that I saved his life! If you know someone that snores or stops breathing when they sleep, you owe it to them to educate them on the dangers of sleep apnea. They should see their physician to discuss this problem and come up with a solution for their sleep problem. You cold save the life of someone you love!

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