Snoring, Sleep Apnea Dental Health and What Your Dentist Can do to Help


 

Sleep Apnea and Snoring FAQ’s

I snore. Am I at risk for sleep apnea?
Did you know that snoring can be a symptom of a serious medical condition that can be life threatening? Obstructive sleep apnea affects more than 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, Fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Most people with mild sleep apnea in Minneapolis are aware that they snore and feel overtired or fatigued but are unaware of potentially serious medical problems which may exist.

What is snoring?
Snoring is basically defined as a sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the upper airway (the mouth, nose and throat). If the airways in your nose and throat are narrowed during sleep, the air you inhale and exhale has to push its way through a smaller passage. The snoring is caused by a partial blockage that may be located anywhere from your nose to your vocal chords. This restriction may occur only during sleep, or it may persist all day long but only become worse when we are asleep. Snorers often have too much throat and nasal tissue, or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. This is because your muscle tone is reduced during sleep and there may be insufficient muscle tone to prevent the airway tissue vibrating. During waking hours muscle tone keeps the airway in good shape; that’s why we don’t snore when awake. Snoring can be mild, meaning that your snoring stops when you awake and turn over, or severe, when you suffer from continual snoring, regardless of your sleep position.

Snoring is a most annoying problem. Many of us think it’s just that, an annoying problem. The truth is that snoring can actually be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Snoring, Who gets it?
Nearly everyone snores at some time of their life. Race, sex nor age seems to play a major factor in who gets it (in fact even dogs snore)! In studies it has been shown that 10-12% of children snore. Childhood snoring is related to hyperactivity and sleep apnea. Habitual snoring among adults has been found in about 24% of women and 40% of men. Men have become less likely to snore after the age of 70.

Likelihood of snoring:

  • Overweight
  • Back sleeper
  • Nasal Obstruction
  • Pregnancy
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Hereditary
  • Smokers
  • Using Muscle Relaxants
  • Mouth Breather
  • Using Drugs
  • Nasal Stuffiness
  • Drinking Alcohol
  • Small Nostrils

How do I know if I snore?
You do not often know that you snore, but your bed partner does! If you wake up with sore ribs or black and blue welts on your side, you know that you are snoring! Snoring can disturb the quality of your sleep and if you often wake up more tired than you were before you went to bed the night before, you know that something is wrong. If you sleep alone, turn on a tape recorder before you go to sleep – and listen for any snoring sounds.

Symptoms of Snoring
Many of the symptoms of snoring are related to sleep and oxygen deprivation:

  • Nightmares and restlessness
  • Headaches and sinus problems
  • Sexual problems, decreased sex
  • Drive and even impotence
  • Frequent sadness and mood swings
  • Dry mouth or bad morning breath
  • Bloating and burping
  • Reduced energy
  • Night sweats and overheating
  • Daytime exhaustion and poor concentration
  • Mental fatigue and bad judgment
  • Hypertension and high blood pressure
  • Depression and irritability
  • Kicking, twitching, punching during sleep
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Hearing loss

 

Snoring Diagnosis
If you suspect that you snore, you should see a sleep dentist; Dr. Shamblott in Hopkins, MN will examine your throat, nose, mouth, palate, and neck, and check for underlying health conditions. He may suggest that you undergo a sleep study. It is not suggested that you try any of the over-the-counter diagnostic tests or ones that you can purchase off the internet. There are two major sleep study tests; a PSG (Polysomnogram) which is conducted in a sleep center or hospital; or an ambulatory or “at home” sleep test, conducted in your own home. The leading take home sleep device is called a Watch-PAT 200. The Watch PAT-200 is a state of the art ambulatory sleep recorder. It is used for sleep studies in the privacy of your home. The Watch PAT 200 measures:

  • Apnea – Hypopnea Index (AHI)
  • Respiratory Disturbance Index )RDI)
  • Sleep architecture (REM sleep, light sleep and deep sleep breakdown)
  • Body position
  • Pulse rate
  • Blood oxygen saturation
  • Snoring sound
  • Nasal airflow

If you feel that you want to do a quick test in your home, without inconvenience, ask your health professional for the Watch-PAT 200 test. If you are interested in undergoing these tests, contact Dr. Scott Shamblott for sleep apnea treatment in Minneapolis and the surrounding area.

Health Effects of Snoring
Not having a decent night’s sleep because of your snoring, will in most cases lead to health problems. In many cases, snoring can caused reduced oxygen flow to the brain, which can lead to:

  • Type II Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Heart Disease
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Sleep deprivation as a result of
  • Snoring can lead to motor vehicle
  • Accidents, work place fatigue, lack of concentration and relationship disasters

One of the most severe side effects of snoring is broken relationships and divorce. Even if your snoring does not disturb your own sleep, it may be ruining your sleep partner’s chance for a good night’s rest.

Snoring can affect both the physical and social intimacies of a relationship. The constant sleep disruption and excessive tiredness caused by noisy snoring often creates problems. Sleep partners of heavy snorers awaken many times during the night which radically affects their quality and especially, quantity of their sleep.

Many partners of snorers decide to sleep in separate rooms resulting in a lack of intimacy and strained relationships. In many cases, it ultimately leads to separation and divorce.

I have a CPAP and don’t use it regularly. Is there another choice?
If you already know you have sleep apnea, come see Dr. Shamblott in Hopkins, MN for an alternative to the CPAP machine you never use!

In February 2006, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine published new guidelines for treatment of sleep apnea. The new guidelines state that oral appliances are indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The guideline for severe apnea remains the same, with the CPAP as the first line of treatment and oral appliances recommended for patients who cannot or will not wear a CPAP.

The oral appliances have a much higher compliance rate than the CPAP. Research shows that only about 20% of patients still use their CPAP after one year. With an oral appliance, there is no hose, mask or compressor, so they are easier and more comfortable to use and travel with. Call today to see if it’s right for you!

Why should I care if I have sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea affects more than 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, Fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Most people with mild sleep apnea in Minneapolis are aware that they snore and feel overtired or fatigued, but are unaware of potentially serious medical problems which may exist.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially life threatening condition that is more common than generally recognized. Over 20 million Americans suffer from OSA and don’t even know it!

An apnea is when breathing stops 10 seconds or more while you are asleep. Coughing or choking sensations, which force you to wake up or “get elbowed” by your sleeping partner, are common signs of OSA. These abrupt disturbances during sleep place significant strain on your heart and cardiovascular system. Snoring is often associated with OSA, although not everyone who snores has this condition. OSA prevents air from reaching the lungs even though your body continues its effort to breathe. This condition is associated with higher risk of heart attacks and strokes!

Untreated, sleep apnea can cause or worsen:

  • High blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease
  • Risk for heart attack
  • Risk for strokes
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Weight gain
  • Migraine headaches
  • Hyperactivity in children
  • Memory problems
  • Impotency and sexual dysfunction
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Job Impairment
  • Motor vehicle crashes

Advances in early detection and diagnosis
Traditionally, sleep disorders were diagnosed and treated only by primary care physicians, ENTs, pulmonologists and neurologists. Recently, the dental profession has begun to recognize the role they can play in early detection and treatment of OSA. Modern technology makes it practical for dentists trained in dental sleep medicine and physicians trained in traditional sleep medicine, to treat patients in close collaboration with one another. However, an accurate diagnosis can only be achieved through the efforts of properly trained practitioners. Two distinct test protocols are being used during the evaluation and treatment process.

Polysomnography (PSG)
This test records a variety of body functions during sleep. It is used both to diagnose sleep apnea and to determine its severity. It is conducted overnight in a hospital or clinic where sensors attached to the body, measure 12 or more parameters including video monitoring of your sleep. Most medical insurance companies reimburse for a PSG study however the typical co-pay or deductible may range from $400-$850. It is not unusual to wait 6-8 weeks for a PSG study.

Ambulatory or “at home”
This test records many of the same values of the PSG but is conducted in the privacy of your own home. Several ambulatory devices are available. The Watch-PAT100 is the only device that has exhaustive clinical research validating its accuracy. This compact device fits easily on a Velcro armband with 2 finger sensors attached. You press a button and then go to sleep. The next morning the device is returned to the office and you may receive your results in a matter of minutes. The average cost of a Watch-PAT 100 study is far less than a PSG. Many physicians and dentists (including Dr. Shamblott) are incorporating this advanced technology in to their practices because of its accuracy and ease to use. In most cases, you can walk out of the initial consultation with the device and test yourself that very same evening.

Treatment options:
In February 2006, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine published new guidelines for treatment of sleep apnea. The new guidelines state that oral appliances are indicated for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The guideline for severe apnea remains the same, with the CPAP as the first line of treatment and oral appliances recommended for patients who cannot or will not wear a CPAP.

CPAP – A CPAP is a medical device that delivers continuous positive air pressure through a facemask or nasal tube attached to a pump. Typically the unit is placed next to the bed and it operates on normal house current. It functions by keeping the upper airway unobstructed during sleep. Proper adjustment of the CPAP is vital to achieve maximum clinical benefits and minimal side effects. Wearing a CPAP is a lifetime commitment and the mask (or tubes) must be in place whenever you sleep or nap.

Oral Appliances Therapy (OAT) – OAT is often a viable alternative to CPAP therapy. A specially designed and adjusted oral appliance (OA) repositions the jaw and tongue during sleep. The OA expands the airway by moving the tongue and jaw forward, thus creating more room for air to flow. Dentists who are trained in dental sleep medicine are qualified to fabricate an OA. They can be highly effective for those who suffer from snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. A quiet and restful night’s sleep is important for the person who snores and the bed partner as well.

Surgical Procedures – Several surgical procedures are available to address snoring and sleep apnea, with the most popular today being RF (radio frequency) surgery. As with all surgeries, there is always risk of post surgical complications, but surgery maybe an alternative treatment of sleep apnea. In addition to the removal of adenoids and tonsils, other surgical options include; UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngeoplasty), LAUP (laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty), tongue reduction surgery jaw reconstruction and tracheostomy. The UPPP and LAUP will often eliminate snoring, but may not be highly effective and predictable in treating sleep apnea.

If you suffer from these symptoms you could be the next fatality:

  • Loud snoring
  • Always tired and having trouble concentrating or staying awake
  • Waking up with headaches
  • Waking up with a choking sensation
  • Perspiring excessively at night
  • Dry mouth upon awakening
  • Depression
  • Heartburn
  • Reduced sexual function
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night
  • Restless sleep, tossing and turning
  • Rapid weight gain.

If you think that you suffer from sleep apnea please do not hesitate in contacting me in order to evaluate your symptoms. I provide sleep apnea treatment in the Hopkins or Minneapolis area, and can start treating you immediately.

DON’T SLEEP ON IT!

If you think you may have sleep apnea, or if you know you have sleep apnea and don’t use your CPAP, call Shamblott Family Dentistry today at 952-935-5599. We can help you feel more rested and take care of yourself!
Shamblott Family Dentistry
33 10th Ave S, Suite 250
Hopkins, MN 55343
952-935-5599
www.shamblottfamilydentistry.com

 

 

Information courtesy of Itamar

Leave a comment