It’s not how LONG you sleep, it’s how WELL you do it
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition that effects 22 million Americans. When you don’t breathe well while sleeping, your body wears down faster, it makes you look older than your age, and it puts you at immediate risk for additional health problems. OSA is associated with depression, fatigue, and weight gain. There is evidence that long-term sleep-disordered breathing may increase the incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems. In short, untreated sleep apnea can kill you.
As a dentist, I pay special attention to the airway system. I am trained to look at signs and symptoms beyond fatigue and snoring; I look at the teeth for unusual wear, tonsil size, head to neck posture and harmony in the jaw joint.
When we lie down to sleep, the airway “pipe” can collapse from the size of a garden hose to a straw. (Gasp, gasp, snore, snore!) Our body’s reaction is to open the spicket and let air flow in. We do this by thrusting our lower jaw forward (much like snore appliances do), to create that much needed flow! Left untreated, obstruction shows as wear in the front teeth. Teeth become shorter, chipped and jagged and will often fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. I hope to diagnose OSA long before your teeth get this worn!
Treatment options include mouth taping, wearing a C-pap or a snore appliances. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as a front line of treatment for snoring and sleep apnea in cases where a C-pap (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) has not been tolerated. The most important thing is to start paying attention (listen to your wife?) and get a sleep study or visit me at Sharp Smile Center.