Snoring & Sleep Apnea

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The doctors and staff at Gillespie Dentistry have been trained to help in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. These maladies are common and left untreated can often lead to serious health consequences. These disorders can be present in children as well as adults both male and female.

The conditions of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are often the result of a reduced airway associated with enlarged tonsils and adenoids, narrow and constricted dental arches, the loss of muscle tone of the throat and excess tissue often a consequence of being overweight. During sleep, the airway relaxes and narrows or closes completely. As a consequence oxygen is depleted to the lungs and subsequently to the blood. After 10 to 20 seconds the brain forces the person to awaken briefly so that it can reopen the airway again. Often these interruptions are so short that the person is not aware that it happens but they can occur quite frequently sometimes hundreds of times a night. This cycle of awakening puts stress on the heart and the drop in oxygen levels caused by not breathing will often lead to an increase in blood pressure.

In adults the health related issues associated with these conditions include high blood pressure, stroke, abdominal reflux disease and coronary heart disease. There is often excessive daytime sleepiness associated with sleep disorders which can lead to an increased probability of automobile accidents and reduced work productivity. In children sleep disorders may be manifested in bed wetting, lack of the ability to concentrate, irritability and may be related to Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).

In our office we provide treatment for adults having these conditions using orthotics (oral appliances) instead of the cumbersome CPAP or ineffective surgery. An oral appliance looks much like an athletic mouth guard but not as thick. The appliance is well-tolerated and very effective in eliminating snoring and treating obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment for children is determined on a case by case basis.

The following brief quiz from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine may provide a clue as to how healthy and effective your sleep is. If you answer true to any of the following you may want to call for a free consultation appointment.

true / false

  • I feel sleepy during the day even when I’ve had a good night’s sleep
  • I often wake up at night and have difficulty falling back asleep.
  • I often wake up early and can’t fall back to sleep.
  • I often have a headache in the morning.
  • My sleeping partner says my snoring keeps him/her from sleeping.
  • I’ve fallen asleep while driving.