Sleep affects every facet of our health and well-being: mood, behavior, energy level and emotions, marriages, employment, and our own sanity and happiness. Our sleep routines change during our lifetime. Not all sleep is equal, and the amount of restorative sleep can decrease with age, weight gain and gravity of airway obstruction. Normal breathing occurs when air passes through the throat on its way to the lungs. The air passes over the soft and flexible structures such as the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and tongue. During the day the muscles around these structures are stressed to prevent airway obstruction. During sleep, these structures relax the jaw, they fall back and as the tongue is connected to the jaw, they block the airway. This leads to a reduction in airflow, snoring and/or obstructive sleep apnea.
Symptoms that may occur include lack of concentration and/or training, daytime fatigue, memory loss, increased blood pressure, reduced libido, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, headaches and/or depression in addition to possible cardiovascular problems. Treatment options include surgery, oral appliances that are removable, and several types of devices such as CPAP. The patient wears a mask from an air pump on the nightstand. Additional surgery is the most invasive method. Only in cases of severe obstruction should be considered as an alternative to surgery for the management of snoring and/or apnea.
The purpose of the therapy with the oral appliance is to improve the airway by moving the jaw forward or vertically to allow more airflow. Many physicians and otolaryngologists encourage their patients to treat oral appliance therapy before surgery. Most victims of snoring and mild to moderate apnea can be treated conservatively and easily by a dentist who has special education and experience needed for the treatment of sleep-disordered breathing.
In Torres Dental Group, we employ advanced treatments and diagnostic tools in oral pathology, craniofacial pain, and related sleep disorders. If you need a consultation or have questions contact us at (718) 899-3840. Take the time to understand your health. Your health is your most valuable possession. It’s worth the investment!
Dr. María Claudia Torres
78-11 35th Avenue, Suite 1-E
Jackson Heights, NY 11372