Jan 14

Driving a commercial truck is without a doubt one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. I read an article recently that called the occupation a “sweatshop on wheels”. The author noted that many truckers are forced to go from one job to another, often driving straight through the night with little to no sleep. When you couple that with the sedentary nature of the job, the result is usually a trucker that is overweight and fatigued. In a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (March 2009), Philip Parks, MD, MPH said, “It is well-known that obesity, a leading risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea, is on the rise in the United States. Truck drivers with sleep apnea have up to a 7-fold increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.”

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Nov 10

This is a very interesting article about how sleep apnea can cause your golf game to suffer. When you are ready to improve your game you should talk to a Sleep Physician and Dentist that treats sleep apnea with an oral appliance!


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Nov 06

For people that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, something as simple as changing your body position while sleeping can affect the severity of the airway obstruction. The worst position to sleep in is on your back. In this position, the soft tissue, tongue and musculature that surrounds the airway tends to collapse around the airway, making it difficult to breathe. Sleeping on your side or stomach rather than on your back will allow you to breathe much easier. To help you to maintain good body position while sleeping, you can try one of the many products that are on the market that make it uncomfortable to sleep on your back.lady_sleeping_C2

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Nov 05

Having a drink to relax before going to bed has been a nightly ritual for many for years, and nowadays the business of taking a pill to help you sleep has been booming. However, drinking alcohol and taking a sedative before going to bed can have deleterious effects on people that have obstructive sleep apnea. Alcohol and sedatives both relax the muscles of the airway, and can cause a decrease in the amount of air that is reaching the lungs. Therefore, if you have obstructive sleep apnea, you can improve your ability to breathe by abstaining from these activities.

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Nov 04

People that smoke are putting themselves at risk for a wide variety health problems. Lung cancer, emphysema, and oral cancer are just some of the problems that they can encounter. In addition to those problems, they are three times more likely to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea than non-smokers. Smoking can increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. The good news is that the risk will most likely drop shortly after the person quits smoking.smoker at risk for sleep apnea

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Oct 29

For some people that are overweight and suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, losing weight can help. If a person is overweight, the added fat deposits around the neck can cause the airway to narrow, therefore causing an obstruction in some cases. Losing weight can be a step in the right direction in reducing the severity of the apnea, but it is not a substitute for medically supervised treatment. Also note that people that are skinny can have sleep apnea as well. weightlosspic

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Oct 21

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be treated on different levels. If you have been diagnosed by a medical doctor with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), you should follow his/her recommendation for professional treatment, which usually will consist of wearing a CPAP or an oral appliance. The oral appliance can be delivered by a dentist trained in sleep dentistry.

In addition to following the medical treatment recommendations, there are 5 things that you can do at home to treat OSA. I will cover each of the 5 things in subsequent blog posts. The five things are:

1) Lose Weight
2) Stop smoking
3) Abstain from drinking Alcohol or taking sedatives before bedtime
4) Sleep on your side
5) Treat nasal congestion before sleeping

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Oct 15

man laying down wearing cpapI have recently joined the I HATE CPAP campaign. It is designed to spread the word about the effectiveness of oral appliances in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea, and for those patients that cannot tolerate their CPAP. In other words, they HATE CPAP…. Don’t get me wrong. CPAP is the GOLD STANDARD for the treatment of sleep apnea. However, if the patient is not wearing their CPAP at all, they are putting themselves at great risk for a major health event. So, a great alternative is an oral appliance that can be made by an experienced dentist that has the proper training for treating these patients. Check out my new website for more info. Also, if you know of someone that is having a problem wearing their CPAP, please share this information with them. It could save their life!!!

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Aug 28

It’s not very often that I’m thanked for saving the life of one of my patients. That happened to me yesterday. I recently completed a smile makeover for a patient while she was sedated. During the procedure, she was snoring very heavily, and even stopped breathing a few times. After completing her treatment, I let her know about her snoring and apnea. I recommended that she have a sleep study ASAP, as this condition can be life threatening if left untreated. She followed my recommendations and completed her sleep study. The results of the polysomnogram showed that she stopped breathing 84 times in one hour! The sleep doctor put her on a CPAP immediately, and told her that if she hadn’t come in for treatment, she would have surely suffered a major health event in the near future. She told all of this to me during her visit yesterday, and added that she was so thankful for me “saving her life”. She said no one had ever mentioned sleep apnea or the dangers that are associated with it. She broke down and started crying with tears of appreciaton. It’s patients like this that really make being a dentist rewarding.

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Aug 18

New study published today in Reuters shows an increase in risk of death due to sleep apnea to increase by 46%.  http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE57H0CP20090818