ROLE OF A DENTIST IN THE MANAGEMENT OF OSA AND SNORING
Snoring is the sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe.
Nearly half of adults snore and over 25 percent are habitual snorers. Snoring problem and sleeping disorders are more frequent in males and people who are overweight and usually worsens with age.
Snoring can also be a sign of a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs in 24% of young middle-aged men and 9% of women, and in 70% of older men and 56% of older women. OSA is characterized by multiple pauses in breathing greater than 10 seconds due to upper airway narrowing or collapse. Untreated OSA can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, workplace or motor vehicle accidents, and more.
Sleep Apnea’s relation to Dentistry
Sleep apnea is known to contribute to oral health problems and vice versa.
Good, quality sleep keeps you healthy and reduces bad breath, mouth ulcers, and the development and progression of periodontal disease (gum disease). Dental problems associated with sleep apnea include TMJ disorders, bruxism, and mouth breathing.
What SYMPTOMS can help you identify OSA in your patients?
Some symptoms of sleep apnea are specific to dental problems. Dental symptoms to look out for in both adults and children include:
- Very narrow airway
- clenching and grinding teeth during sleep, sometimes loud enough to wake you or your partner up
- tightness and pain in jaw joints
- sore and raw spots from chewing the inside of one or both cheeks
- dull headaches that start at the temples
Advantages of suggesting dental devices for the treatment of sleep apnea
A study by the American academy of dental sleep medicine shows that oral appliances are a proven and effective treatment for OSA and snoring. Worn during sleep, the appliance fits in the mouth and supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway.
There are many reasons why orthodontists should consider recommending dental devices and an improvement in oral and dental health to people with sleep apnea.
- One is that these prove to be truly effective in significantly reducing the risks of dealing with mild to moderate cases of apnea.
- The devices are also particularly useful for those who either sleep on their stomach or back and are effective in improving the airflow of those who suffer from severe apnea.
- Other benefits of suggesting dental appliances and improving oral and dental health for sleep apnea and snoring sufferers are:
- Improved sleep patterns
- Reduced frequency of snoring
- Reduced loudness of snoring
- High success rates.
If you are an orthodontist, then discussing orthodontic treatments such as rapid maxillary expansion can also help. This orthodontic treatment involves temporarily applying a screw device into the upper teeth and tightening this regularly. Rapid maxillary expansion can also be recommended for those with a narrow upper jaw. This is a nonsurgical orthodontic procedure that is effective in reducing nasal pressure and improving breathing patterns.
Sleep Medicine is an exciting & emerging field of medicine. It has a strong correlation with Dentistry & has hence it is highly recommended for a dentist to get acquainted in this area. To learn more about Dentistry’s role in Sleep Medicine explore the various learning options pls check the website www.sleepmedicintinstitute.in
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