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 09

CPAPContinuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a device that is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. It is basically an adjustable air pressure device that delivers air through a tube that is connnected to a mask that covers the nose and mouth. It is a bedside device that can usually be easily transported. When in operation, pressurized air is forced into the airway and through any soft tissue obstruction, providing fresh oxygen to the lungs and enhancing the patients abililty to sleep soundly. CPAP is the gold standard for treating obstructive sleep apnea. However, many people that have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea cannot tolerate a CPAP . Sometimes those people that cannot tolerate the CPAP are the patient’s bedmates. This is usually due to the noise that is produced from the CPAP. An alternative to CPAP that is extremely effective is an oral appliance made by a dentist. Check with your sleep physician or your dentist to see if you would be a candidate for an oral appliance.

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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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Feb 03

Wall Street Journal logoThe Wall Street Journal just published this fantastic article entitle “The New Face of Sleep”. It’s all about the dangers of sleep apnea . The author does a wonderful job of defining sleep apnea and the various types of treatments that are available to patients. The author also discusses the fact that obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition that is grossly ignored, even after being prescribed the proper treatment from their sleep physician or dentist. Treatments like CPAP and oral appliances made by a dentist are extremely effective. I hope that this article will help to enlighten people about the risks of sleep apnea.

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Feb 01

How does an oral appliance treat obstructive sleep apnea? After being diagnosed with sleep apnea by a sleep physician, a very effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is an oral appliance. Dentists trained in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea can create custom oral appliances that are very effective in the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, and for those patients that are CPAP intolerant. The oral appliances reposition the tongue and lower jaw (mandible) in a more forward postion during sleep. These appliances are called Mandibluar Anterior Repositioning Splints (MAS). This opens the airway and minimizes, or eliminates, the soft tissue obstruction that is the cause of the person’s apnea. Follow up sleep studies are critical for the proper adjustment of the oral appliances, and to prove the effectiveness of the treatment. Patients are often amazed at the restful nights sleep that they have after being they’ve been fitted with their dental appliance. Dr. Zach Hodgins, a dentist in Orlando, FL, is trained in treating patients that suffer from sleep apnea. His office offers the Somnodent dental appiance for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

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Jan 29

Somnodent Mandibular Advancement AppliancePeople that have been diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea will benefit the most from using an oral appliance made by a dentist. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, many people cannot tolerate a CPAP. The reasons include the CPAP being to bulky and cumbersome, the CPAP mask leaking, dry mouth and nose, skin irritation, and annoying their bed partner with a noisy CPAP machine. An oral appliance can also be used to treat people that suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea that are CPAP intollerant. A dentist that has been trained to treat patients that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea can fabricate an oral appliance. The process is simple and painless, and can be completed in as little as two visits. Follow up is critical, as the appliance should be adjusted according to objective results obtained from a follow up sleep study. One should seek out a dentist that owns a portable sleep monitor like the Watch-Pat 200 or the Ares. This will reduce the expense and hassle involved with multiple sleep studies done in a sleep lab. I do recommend a final sleep study to be conducted in a sleep lab, once the appliance has been properly adjusted.

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Jan 28

Undiagnosed, and hence, untreated sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for developing the following:
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes
• Stroke Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Obesity accidents
• Heart disease
• Driving and work-related
• Decreased sex drive
• Depression
• Irritability
• Morning headaches
• Impaired concentration

If you or someone that you love snores, stops breathing while sleeping, or is excessively tired during the day, please contact your family physician so that he or she can diagnose your condition.

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Jan 27

Obstructive sleep apnea is a deadly medical problem that is becoming more prevelant. In recent years, dentists have become an integral part of the team approach in the treatment of obstructive slee apnea. This is due to several realsons. First, dentists see their patients on a more regular basis than their physician collegues. Second, dentists have been trained extensively in the anatomy and physiology of the airway. This knowledge is essential in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of sleeping and breathing disorders, namely obstructive sleep apnea. Upon recognition, dentists can refer their patients to the appropriate sleep physician or sleep center for a proper diagnosis. Lastly, dentists are skilled in the fabrication of appliances that can treat obstructive sleep apnea. These appliances work very well when treating patients that have been diagnosed with mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The appliances can also be used to treat patients that cannot wear their CPAP.

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Jan 26

There is a perception amongst the general population that snoring is a harmless annoyance, and nothing else. However, this is the furthest thing from the truth. Everyone should know that Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are very common medical problems that should not be overlooked. Snoring is usually a tell tale sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a potentially deadly condition. One of the most common symptoms is feeling very sleepy during the day. If you or your loved one snores or is sleepy during the day, they should see a sleep physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment. You can also speak to your dentist about snoring and sleep apnea. Your dentist can help with your snoring and or sleep apnea by making an oral appliance for you. The oral appliances are very effective for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea; it is also effective for those patients that cannot wear their CPAP.

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Jan 18

Recently a group out of the Universtity of Chicago reported, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, that obstructive sleep apnea may adversely affect the body’s ability to control it’s sugar levels (glucose). This can lead to major problems with people that suffer from type 2, adult onset, diabetes.

Renee S. Aronsohn, MD, of the University of Chicago, said “for the first time that there is a clear, graded inverse relationship between [obstructive sleep apnea] severity and glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

John Heffner, MD, past president of the American Thoracic Society, said in a recent news release that at least 80% people with type 2 diabetes also have obstructive sleep apnea.

This study is encouraging because obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Hence, if the obstructive sleep apnea is treated the person’s ability to control his/her blood sugar levels would most likely improve.

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