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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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 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 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 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 17

In April 2006, the Institute of Medicine released a 461 page report entitled “Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem” (http://nap.edu). According to the paper, an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, with the estimated prevalence of OSAS being 4 to 7% of the U.S. The term used to describe excessive sleepiness is hypersomnolence. The statistics regarding the damage caused by this problem are astounding. $150 Billion annually is lost in decreased productivity and accidents. The medical costs from daytime hypersomnolence alone cost another $48 billion. The most shocking of all the statistics listed within the paper is that 20% of all serious car accidents involve daytime hypersomnolence. This statistic is independent of those accidents involving alcohol.

The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) established “Dentists Against Drowsy Driving” in November 2008. It’s goal is to increase awareness throughout the health professions and the public about the dangers associated with undiagnosed and untreated sleep-related breathing disorders. Dr Zach Hodgins, a dentist practicing in Winter Park, FL, is an expert in treating patients that have been diagnosed by their physicians with OSA. “The problem with sleep-related breathing disorders is that it is a problem that is rarely screened for by most physicians and dentists”, says Dr. Hodgins. Dr. Hodgins recommends that any patient with any signs of sleep apnea see their physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

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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 09

The final item in our “5 Ways to Treat Your Sleep Apnea at home” is to use a nasal decongestant. This is a great tool to use to treat acute nasal congestion, as it usually provides an immediate improvement in one’s ability to breathe.

Chronic nasal congestion is often associated with sleep apnea and can be part of the symptom complex of sleep apnea. It can also be a direct result of the Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment. When treated properly with one of the wide variety of products currently on the market, it can greatly increase the effectiveness of a CPAP therapy and or Oral Appliance Therapy. Care should be used when taking these medications and it is always best to consult with your physician before taking such medication.

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