Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

SDB (Sleep-disordered breathing) is a group of medical conditions that are characterized by irregularities in the quality or pattern of respiratory activity. These include but are not limited to snoring, UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome), and OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).

All of these conditions involve the restriction of the airway and are of concern. With snoring and upper respiratory resistance syndrome, the airway is partially blocked preventing the brain from having the oxygen it needs as well as other concerns. It is important to address these conditions before they become apnea, which can have much more serious consequences.

Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing, known as “apneic events”. During these events, the blood oxygen level drops, triggering a “fight or flight response,” which in response, releases adrenalin, a rise in blood pressure, and an increased heart rate. The patient rarely awakens fully during these events, and therefore is not consciously aware that breathing stopped. During the night, he or she experiences the same physiological effects that accompany panic, resulting in fragmented (disturbed) sleep. Due to the patient not being fully awake during these events, they may feel like the slept the entire night, but will wake in the morning, unrefreshed with no explanation.

At Dentistry of Newburyport, we screen for, and manage sleep-disordered breathing, using an Interdisciplinary approach. We notice signs such as facial-skeletal development, excess tissue, mouth breathing, tongue posture, and specific types of tooth wear( often omitted as causes for poor sleep) chronic fatigue, cognitive problems and many more.

Rather than relying on guesswork, when we detect the signs of apnea or related conditions, using a high-resolution pulse oximetry device as part of our screening process. This device provides objective, detailed, accurate data, which is used as a metric to assess the patient’s level of risk. If the screening returns a positive result, he will review possible management strategies and recommend a consult to help attain a diagnosis.

We see patients of all ages.

Several treatment options are available, depending on the nature and severity of the sleep disordered breathing, as well as the patient’s personal preferences. The decision is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on what is best for each individual. We believe that accurate, early diagnosis and cooperation among health care providers are essential for patient health and well-being. Should you or a loved one need assistance with this type of care, or have questions, it is our pleasure to help. Call us at 978-465-8492.

For more information:

The Link Between Mouth Breathing and ADHD
The “Aha!” Moment: The Secrets of a Child’s Breathing
Shut Your Mouth and Change Your Life
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