Wilshire Smile Studio Can Help You Overcome Serious Sleep Problems
According a recent study by SleepHealth.org, 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, with a third of all adults (84 million) not getting solid sleep on a regular basis.
The problems driving this can range from a partner who snores and chronic insomnia to waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep again. The problems that insufficient quality sleep generates include moodiness, high blood pressure, memory loss, and weight gain.
Most dangerous of the sleep disorders is sleep apnea. An apnea is a pause in breathing which can last up to 90 seconds and occur 5-100 times in an hour.
The brain reacts to this oxygen deprivation by trying to wake up the individual to breathe deeper. But she or he usually does not become fully conscious and just starts breathing again, unaware of the disruption that has occurred.
However, in the morning and throughout the day the sleep apnea sufferer will be extremely tired and have a high risk of getting into a traffic accident just driving to work, nearly falling asleep on the way.
“To give you a sense of the severity of oxygen deprivation, even in moderate sleep apnea cases, patients will often have their blood oxygen drop from about 98 to 100 percent to 80, 70, or even the 50 percent range,” wrote Kam Hoss, DDS, in If Your Mouth Could Talk: An In-Depth Guide to Oral Health and Its Impact on Your Entire Life. “For context, if your bloody oxygen drops to 92% in a hospital, they will put an oxygen mask on you.”
Shockingly, 80-90% of the estimated 22 million Americans with sleep apnea have never had it diagnosed. A partner may be able to ignore the most common symptom, loud and frequent snoring, while the individual’s doctor never thinks to ask about other signs, such as a sore throat or choking when waking up in the morning (due to so much mouth breathing) and the inability to concentrate or remember things at work.
Other serious effects of untreated sleep apnea included damage to the brain, erectile dysfunction, asthma, weaker bones and teeth, greater risk of all types of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes 2, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The most common form is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which is due to the blocking of the airway, usually by a large tongue, tonsils, or other tissues when the individual lies on the back (a small number of people have Central Sleep Apnea, a brain disorder that needs to be treated by a physician with medication).
Doctors usually recommend that OSA patients use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. This requires the sufferer to wear an oxygen mask connected to a machine and lie on his or her back all night. The discomfort results in about half of patients discontinuing use.
Fortunately, Wilshire Smile Studio’s dentists are experts at treating OSA because they specialize in treating disorders related to the mouth. The most common remedy is for us to create a customized, FDA-approved oral appliance that will keep the jaw in a position to prevent apneas from occurring.
If the problem is due in part to a crowded bite and crooked teeth that affect tongue placement, Invisalign orthodontic trays may need to be created to prevent blockage of the throat.
In other cases, the sleep apnea may be caused by dislocated temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the hinges that connect the lower jaw to the skull, the most common symptom being a clicking or popping sound when opening and closing the mouth. We have a variety of ways to treat this, including teaching you neuromuscular exercises, prescribing muscular relaxers, the creation of an oral device to be worn at night until it gradually moves the jaw back into its proper position, or Botox injections.
If the jaw is underdeveloped, surgery will be required and we have a certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon who can remedy the most complex cases related to sleep apnea and other conditions.