Dentists are becoming more and more aware of the importance of screening patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
From the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine:
“Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.
Common signs of sleep apnea include snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Like snoring, sleep apnea is more common in men, but it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway or misaligned jaw all increase the risk of sleep apnea.”
The AADSM (The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine) recommends dentists evaluate patients for the following conditions as possible indicators of Sleep Apnea:
• A thick neck (greater than 16 inches in a woman or 17 inches in a man)
• A short neck
• Lower-face abnormalities, which may include:
* A large tongue
• A crowded posterior airway (such as caused by an enlarged, floppy uvula or enlarged tonsils)
• An enlarged soft palate that rests on the base of the tongue
• Complaints of being overly tired during the day, low on energy, depressed, or moody
• Falling asleep in dental chair
• Trouble opening mouth wide during dental examination
The most successful treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a CPA appliance, however, 60% to 83% percent of users cannot tolerate this device.
With the high rejection rate of the CPAP, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine designated dental sleep oral appliances as the No. 1 nonsurgical alternative for the CPAP intolerant. Numerous sleep appliances are available to the public and distributed through dentists.
Your dental professional can help you identify if a sleep appliance may help you. If you have any questions about OSA or dental sleep medicine, contact our office today at 727-586-2681 or visit our website at www.brittenperio.com