Oct 25

Sleeping and breathing disorders, i.e. sleep apnea, snoring, etc., are not only dangerous for your overall health, but they can also destroy your marriage. According to the 2005 National Sleep Foundation survey, 23% of couples that have a partner that snores sleep in separate beds, bedrooms, or on the couch, another 8% have altered their sleep schedules to account for their snoring partner, 7% wear earplugs to drown out the noise from snoring, 38% say that snoring is causing a problem with their relationship, and 27% said that it is affecting their intimate relationships.

So as you can see from this study, it’s critical for your relationship and your health to stop snoring. Many times snoring can be a sign of a far more dangerous health problem, namely obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore it is important to see your physician for a consultation and most likely a sleep study in a sleep laboratory, also called a polysomnogram (PSG).

Whether it is snoring or obstructive sleep apnea as a diagnosis, patients that snore can be helped by either by wearing a CPAP, or by using an oral appliance made by a dentist. The oral appliance, also called a mandibular advancement splint, moves the lower jaw forward eliminating the soft tissue obstruction of the airway, and hence the snoring is also silenced.

Dr. Zach Hodgins of the Dentist’s Studio in Winter Park,FL, offers help to those that snore and those that have obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Hodgins can be reached for consultation at 407.647.1744 or www.dentiststudio.com

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Oct 19

SUAD Dental Sleep Apnea Appliance

The SUAD™ Device is a dental sleep apnea mouthpiece, otherwise known as a mandibular advancement appliance, that is used by dentists to treat obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. The SUAD™ Device is most effective when treating patients that snore, have mild – moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or cannot sleep while wearing a CPAP.

SUAD™ Device is a heavy duty mandibular advancement device that can withstand the heavy, destructive forces of bruxism, i.e. teeth clenching and grinding, that most often accompanies obstructive sleep apnea.

The SUAD™ Device is a fully adjustable dental sleep apnea appliance that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. It is custom fitted to each patient and fabricated in a dental lab.

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and clench and grind your teeth, then the SUAD™ Device may be the best dental sleep apnea splint for you. Dr. Zach Hodgins, a dentist in Orlando, FL uses the SUAD™ Device to treat sleep apnea patients in his Winter Park, FL office. Call 407.647.1744 or visit www.DentistStudio.com today to arrange for a consultation appointment.

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Oct 18

A Tongue Retaining Device is yet another type of dental sleep apnea appliance that is used to treat patients that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Since the main culprit in obstructive sleep apnea is a large tongue falling into the back of the mouth and obstructing the airway, a Tongue Retaining Device is an excellent choice to resolve the airway obstruction. The “TRD” is made from a flexible rubberized material that adapts to the contours of the teeth and dental arches. Unlike almost all of the other dental sleep mouthpieces that are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, the tongue retaining device does not depend on teeth for retention. Instead, the tongue is held fin a more forward position by the suction that is created within the vacuum bulb in the front of the appliance.

For many patients this is a viable option to help with their sleep apnea problem, however it really comes down to personal preference. Dr. Zach Hodgins, a dentist in Orlando, FL that treats patients that have obstructive sleep apnea and patients that have a CPAP and cannot wear it. If you or your loved one suffers from this deadly condition, consult with your physician or a dentist that has been trained in dental sleep medicine. Dr. Zach Hodgins office works closely with local sleep physicians, pulmonologists, and neurologists to help patients with their sleeping and breathing disorders. Dr. Zach Hodgins is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr Hodgins is also an active member of the I Hate CPAP campaign. I Hate CPAP is a nationwide campaign that helps promote sleeping and breathing disorder awareness and encourages treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Dr. Hodgins practice is located on the border of Orlando, in Winter Park, FL; he is available for consultation at 407.647.1744. His websites www.DentistStudio.com , http://www.orlando.ihatecpap.com , and www.StopSleepApnea.info are fantastic sources of information on sleep apnea and the treatments that are available.

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Oct 14

In the next few posts I’ll be reviewing some of the different dental sleep apnea appliances that are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. These dental sleep apnea appliances are also called mandibular advancement devices, dental sleep apnea mouth pieces, mandibular advancement sleep apnea splints. In essence, they all do basically the same thing. They advance the mandible (the lower jaw) forward.   The differences are in the design and patient comfort.  Since the tongue is connected to the mandible, this forward  movement opens the airway and allows the sleep apnea patient to breathe better. The sleep apnea dental appliance can be used alone, or in combination with a cpap, or pap device. This later is called combination sleep apnea therapy.

In this post I will highlight one of the most widely used dental sleep apnea appliances, the TAP 3.According to the inventor of the appliance, Dr. Thornton, there are approximately 7,000 dentists worldwide that are prescribing the appliance for their patients that suffer with sleep apnea.

As far as the design is concerned, it is quite simple. It consists of an upper and lower acrylic appliance, that connects the upper and lower jaws through a hook and socket mechanism. One of the features that I like the best is the ability to have the patient adjust the appliance themselves. There is a small dial on the front of the lower appliance that allows the patient, dentist, or physician to adjust the appliance as needed. I jokingly call this dial the volume control, because if the patient is snoring the patients husband or wife can adjust the appliance to quite the snoring.

The TAP3 is best used for patients that have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It is also used successfully for people that are CPAP intolerant. If you fit into either one of these categories please seek guidance from your physician or dentist. Dr. Zach Hodgins practices dentistry in Orlando, FL and has successfully treated many patients with dental sleep apnea appliances. If you need assistance with your sleep apnea treatment, and or you are unhappy with your CPAP please contact Dr. Zach Hodgins‘ office at 407.647.1744

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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 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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Feb 28

Obese PicThe new year has begun and already the New Year’s Resolutions of losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle are beginning to fade. I can see it in the decrease in the amount of people that frequent my local healthclub. They started out with a bang, but are now starting to fizzle. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), obesity in adults has increased by 60% within the past twenty years and obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years. An alarming 33% of American adults are obese and obesity-related deaths have climbed to more than 300,000 a year, second only to tobacco-related deaths. America is losing the battle of the buldge, and it is doing far more than just making us look unattractive.

Is America’s Obesity Epidemic Affecting our quality of sleep?

The answer would be a resounding YES! Of the many negative effects that obesity has on our health, none could be more damaging than our ability to get a good nights sleep. It is a fact that people that are overweight are prone to developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is the accumulation of fat around the neck that poses the greatest threat to a patent airway. Excessive neck fat tends to cause the soft tissues around the airway to collapse, hence cutting off the flow of oxygen to the lungs and brain. Obstructive sleep apnea can kill, so it’s important to take steps to treat it.

Losing weight by adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine will most likely reduce the severity of sleep apnea in these people. Also, treatments such as CPAP, and oral dental appliances that move the lower jaw forward are critical in treating obstructive sleep apnea in the obese population.

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Feb 27

Sleep Apnea Keeping Wife AwakeWhat are the signs and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea include: Snoring, Witnessed Apnea, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Nocturnal Choking, Unrefreshed Sleep, Poor Sleep Quality, Insomnia, Morning Headaches, Impaired Concentration, Impaired Memory, Nocturia, Anxiety, Impotence, Depression, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

The signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include: Obesity, Increased Neck Circumference, Increased Waist Circumference, Retrognathia (, Maxillary (Upper Jaw) Constriction, Excessive Overjet of the teeth, Excessive Overbite of the teeth, Tonsilar Hypertrophy (enlarged tonsils), Macroglossia (enlargement of the tongue), Oropharyngeal narrowing, Nasal obstruction, High Blood Pressure.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, speak to a sleep physician to diagnose and correct the potentially fatal condition that is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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Feb 26

Sleep allows us to recover from the time we spend awake, and helps us to reenergize our bodies and minds for the day to come. Sleep provides biochemical refreshment, and allows key metabolic processes to take place. It is critical for our immune system, as it allows the immune system to reset itself. Sleep also plays a pivotal role in learning and memory consolidation, as well as the assimilation of new ideas and information. Getting the proper amount of sleep is critical as well. Studies have shown that getting too little or too much sleep can result in harmful systemic problems, such as cardiovascular disease, depression, obesity, and even cancer. A healthy adult should sleep for about 8 hours, while an infant may sleep up to twice that amount. Unfortunately for parents, this doesn’t mean 16 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Wouldn’t that be nice?

With the ever increasing demands that modern society places upon us each day, it is even more important than ever to be aware of your sleep quality. There are a host of sleep disorders that are present throughout the world’s population. If you are not sleeping 8 hours per night, or you’re feeling tired during the day, consult with a sleep physician. A polysomnogram, otherwise know as a sleep study that is performed in a sleep laboratory, would be an excellent way to evaluate the quality of your sleep. If a problem is found and you are diagnosed with a form of obstructive sleep apnea, treatments such as CPAP or an oral dental appliance, made by a dentist trained to treat sleep apnea, can be very effective.

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Feb 04

brain-763982-11[1]On Friday February 1, 2010 the American Academy of Sleep Medicine sent out a news release that outlined new research that shows that people who suffer from severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) have decreased concentrations of gray matter throughout the brain.

Gray matter is found in the brain’s cerebral cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for processing information, memory formation and many other crucial brain activities.

Dr. Seung Bong Hong, a professor of neurology at the Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, said in the news release that “Poor sleep quality and progressive brain damage induced by OSA could be responsible for poor memory, emotional problems, decreased cognitive functioning and increased cardiovascular disturbances.” He went on to say that “The use of continuous positive airway pressure therapy could stop further progression of brain damage in patients with severe OSA.”

This study illustrates how serious obstructive sleep apnea is, and how proper diagnosis and treatment is vitally important. CPAP is the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. A dental appliance that repositions the jaw in a more forward position can also be very effective. Oral appliances are most effective in the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea, and people that cannot wear their CPAP.

Reference: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, Feb. 1, 2010

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