Posts for: October, 2016
Sleep apnea is a progressive health issue that can also be life-threatening, if left completely untreated. Sleep apnea is a condition caused when your breathing is interrupted while you are sleep. This can occur because of an airway obstruction or a respiratory system communication failure, or both. We all deserve a peaceful rest at the end of our busy days. Our health and quality of life depends on receiving consistent quality sleep. Sadly, a lot of us are suffering from a lack of this. Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes.
We’ve discussed in the previous weeks, in detail, the three types of sleep apnea, the leading causes, the symptoms, and some startling statistics. So, if you are still tuned in, it is probably because something along the way has hit home and you are concerned that maybe you are suffering with this common aliment. What’s next? How do you get diagnosed?
Your path to a diagnosis begins with a visit to your general physician. He or she will inquire about yours and your family’s medical history, as this might provide key information regarding your health concern. A simple physical examination of your mouth, nose, and throat is also necessary. Children with sleep apnea might show enlarged tonsils. Adults might have an enlarged uvula (the tissue that hangs from the middles of the back of your mouth) or soft palate (the roof of your mouth near the back of your throat). The next step toward diagnosis will include a sleep study, followed by the interruption of the results by a certified sleep specialist.
You will likely need a polysommogram. This is a done at a sleep lab/center. This test records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, blood pressure, and measures the amount of oxygen in your blood, amount of air movement through your nose while you breathe, and observes your chest movements. This data will be collected while you are asleep.
At Parker Dentistry Facial Rejuvenation and Wellness, a pre-screening is offered using a pulse oximeter. A pulse oximeter is a noninvasive method for monitoring your oxygen saturation. Dr. Steve is well-versed in the types, causes, symptoms, and signs related to sleep apnea. If sleep apnea is a concern of yours, it is advised that you bring it up at your next visit. Parker Dentistry is also in the planning phase and working out the logistics of being able to provide an easy method for conducting a sleep study yourself in the comfort of your own home in order to help with the diagnostic process.
Once diagnosed, we have the tools and expertise to help you choose and implement the best treatment option. Quality sleep is crucial to your overall health, wellness, happiness, and quality of life. Sleep apnea maybe the cause of your sleep-related issues. Don’t wait any longer. Remember, sleep apnea is progressive and the sooner you address it the better you will feel.
If you or a family member wears braces, you're used to visiting your orthodontist for adjustments and progress monitoring. But it's just as important that you continue regular visits with your family dentist, especially if you begin noticing abnormalities with your teeth and gums.
We need to be on alert for dental health because risks for disease increase during orthodontic treatment. Most oral infections arise from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces. You avoid plaque buildup by brushing and flossing at least once a day and undergoing semi-annual office cleanings for any remaining plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits).
Braces, however, can complicate hygiene. It's harder to get into areas blocked by the brackets and wires with your brush or floss. This can quickly give rise to gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease characterized by gum swelling. If not treated, gum disease could eventually cause the gums to detach from the teeth and lead to bone and tooth loss.
The brackets and wires can also irritate the gums and cause them to swell or overgrow, a condition called hyperplasia. This further complicates proper hygiene, which then increases the risk for infection even more.
It takes more time and effort to brush and floss effectively while wearing braces. But it's necessary to prevent these problems. Interproximal brushes (which fit in the spaces between teeth) can help, as well as special floss threaders. You might also consider a water flosser, which use a high-pressured water spray to remove plaque between teeth.
And, don't neglect seeing us on a regular basis. If you notice gum swelling, redness or bleeding, contact us as soon as possible.
If the swelling is due to hyperplasia, treatment could wait until after the braces come off, as long as there doesn't appear to be any gum detachment from the teeth. If there is, though, you may need to see a periodontist (a gum specialist) for further evaluation. It may be necessary in advanced cases to remove the braces to treat the underlying gum condition.
It pays to keep a close eye on your teeth and gums while wearing braces. Catching problems before they become too serious will help ensure your new smile is just as healthy as it is attractive.
If you would like more information on dental care while undergoing orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Gum Swelling during Orthodontics.”
Sleep apnea is a chronic and progressive health condition and sleeping disorder that is affecting millions of Americans every year. It is not something that should be taken lightly, as the repercussions of untreated sleep apnea can be severe and even life threatening. Fortunately, there are various treatment options that can greatly improve your quality of sleep and lower the risk of certain health complications. Before we move forward to discuss diagnostic and treatment methods, we would like to share with you some perspective altering statistics about sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea is prevalent in as many as an estimated 18 million Americans alone. This statistic denotes that approximately 1 in every 15 Americans, or 6.62% of the total American population have a case of sleep apnea.
- Research conducted at the University of California’s San Diego campus studied 54 African Americans and 346 Caucasians for the presence of sleep apnea. The results showed that a full 17 percent of African American test subjects had a case of obstructive sleep apnea present, compared to 8 percent of the Caucasian subjects. This denotes a hypothesis that African Americans stand an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Two to four percent of all Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. This accounts for approximately 1 in 50 individuals being undiagnosed.
- People that are afflicted with sleep apnea face a steep increase in chances of being part of a traffic accident. Due to the sleeplessness and lack of ability to concentrate that are associated with apnea, sufferers are six times more likely to die in a car accident. As a matter of fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that drowsy driving is responsible for, at the very least, 100,000 car accidents, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths per year.
- More than 263,000 children per year undergo tonsillectomies. Most of these operations are performed due to the presence of sleep apnea in the children that is caused by the tonsils obstructing their air way.
- A bed mate of a person with untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lose a serious amount of sleep! Due to the breathing and gasping of the apnea sufferer, the bed mate loses up to an hour per night of sleep. This was discovered when a study was conducted that measured the effects of CPAP treatment in helping the bed mate to sleep.
- People that have an untreated case of sleep apnea face a risk of stroke that is four times as likely as those who are not afflicted. Untreated sleep apnea sufferers are also three times as likely to have heart disease.
- On the average night’s sleep, a sufferer of obstructive sleep apnea may experience 60 apneas per hour. This accounts for an average of 400 apneas per night!
- Roughly half of all hospital patients that have a case of hypertension are also afflicted with sleep apnea. Conversely, around half of all sleep apnea sufferers face a diagnosis of hypertension.
- According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, approximately 38,000 deaths occur on an annual basis that relate to cardiovascular problems that in one way or another are connected to sleep apnea. These problems include high blood pressure, hypertension and stroke, among others. An estimated six million American residents suffer from sleep apnea that is moderate to severe and may necessitate a late night visit to the emergency room. Unfortunately a great many people do not, as previously mentioned, even realize that they suffer from sleep apnea. This number is somewhere around 500,000 individuals.
The more informed that you are, the better suited you will be to take control of your health in the best way possible. Your health is in your hands and we want to help you take hold of it.
Last week, we introduced one of the most common sleep disorders that is affecting millions of us, whether we realize it or not. Sleep apnea is one of the top reasons why we aren’t getting the quality of sleep that we need and deserve. Sleep apnea is a condition caused when your breathing is interrupted while you are asleep. This can happen because of an obstruction to your airway, due to a respiratory center and brain communication failure, or both. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. If you missed last week’s introduction to this disorder, we advise you to take a quick look at it before moving on through this short series with us.
What are the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?
- Loud, disruptive, and frequent snoring
- Frequent breaks in breathing, which is then followed by a choking or gasping action.
- Headaches, especially in the morning. This is caused from the loss of oxygen in your bloodstream that is a result of irregular nighttime breathing.
- Dry mouth
- Sore or scratchy throat in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating throughout the day
- Decrease in productivity
- Chronic fatigue
What are the most common causes of obstructive sleep apnea?
- Excessive weight is directly linked to this condition. Those who are overweight or obese have a much higher chance of suffering from sleep apnea than those who maintain a healthy weight.
- As you get older (40+), you are at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea. As you age, you naturally begin to lose muscle tone. This also applies to your throat muscles, which, if weakened can cave in during your sleep cycle and cause an obstruction to your airway.
- Men are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women.
- The size of your neck can put you at a greater risk. Men with a neck size of 17 inches or greater and women with a neck size of 16 inches or greater are at a higher risk.
- Family history and genetic predisposition, unfortunately, can be the cause of OSA.
- Alcohol and smoking both increase your chances of OSA.
- Nasal problems such as a deviated septum or allergies can cause OSA.
What are the most common symptoms of central sleep apnea?
- Frequent cessation or interruption of breathing during sleep
- Short and shallow breathing
- Poor quality of sleep
- Excessive sleepiness throughout the day
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes
- Regular headaches in the morning
What are the most common causes of central sleep apnea?
- Heart failure
- Brain infection
- Parkinson’s disease
- Some medications, like heavy painkillers
As we discusses earlier, complex sleep apnea is when you suffer from both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. It is believed that one can actually develop central sleep apnea from having obstructive sleep apnea. If you are suffering from any combination of the above symptoms, it might be a good idea to bring that up during your next visit with Dr. Steve!
Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.
In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.
Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.
What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.
A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”