Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

A sleep-related breathing disorder is considered when there is difficulty breathing during sleep. Sleep disorders have become an epidemic affecting an estimate of over 70 million people in the United States alone.  Many people might not even know they have a sleep breathing disorder and will never get treated.  Only 20% of the population will get diagnosed with a physician with a sleep disorder.

Most sleep-related breathing disorders can be treated by a dental practitioner and these include Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), snoring, and upper airway resistance syndrome.  

If you suspect that you may be suffering from a sleep-related breathing disorder, contact us so we can locate a SleepArchitects certified dentist near you.

People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea more severe blockage of your airway caused by the base of your tongue and the soft tissues of your throat while you are sleeping.

When your airway is blocked, there is a decrease in oxygen, so your body tries to wake itself to obtain the air needed. This disrupts your sleep cycle and the REM stages that play a significant role in repairing the body and maintaining a healthy immune system.

You might not remember these brief body awakenings but you might end up feeling tired and unrefreshed in the morning.

What is Snoring?

Snoring occurs when your airway is partially blocked while you are sleeping. Typically, the blockage is caused by the base of your tongue or the tissues of your throat that relax and collapse into your airway when you sleep. These tissues vibrate when the air you are breathing passes over them, causing the snoring sound. Note that snoring may be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Many people snore and can be seen as a common sign due to tiredness. There are some light snorers and some that are way too loud.  Usually, the heavier snorers may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Not everyone that snores may have OSA but it is never a bad idea to get screened for a sleep breathing disorder.

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)?

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is a disorder that occurs when your airway is periodically blocked by the base of your tongue and soft tissues of your throat while you are sleeping. UARS is similar to snoring, except that the blockage causes you to briefly stop breathing and suffer from a lack of oxygen. Although your breathing stops only briefly, it is enough to wake you slightly, which keeps you from falling into a deep sleep. If you have UARS, you may not remember waking up at night, but you often feel fatigued during the day because you are not getting quality sleep.

Signs of a Sleep Disorder

Daytime Fatigue
Falling asleep while at work or while driving
Grinding teeth while sleeping (bruxing)
Gasping for breath while sleeping
Kicking and jerking while sleeping
Not feeling refreshed no matter how much sleep you get
Morning headaches

How to Treat?

SleepArchitects offers a comfortable and simple treatment for treating sleep-related breathing disorders.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances are custom-made for you by your dental practitioner. This ensures a comfortable fit. They are simple to wear and easy to care for. There are many types of FDA-cleared oral appliances available, and your dental practitioner will select the one that best meets your needs. Compliance rates with oral appliances have been shown to be much higher than compliance rates of other therapies, such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

If Left Untreated?

Leaving a sleep breathing disorder untreated can be very dangerous and cause underlying health issues.  You have to remember that when the airway is blocked and there is limited or no oxygen coming into the body it can affect all areas of the body.  These are some health issue that can develop:

High Blood Pressure
Heart Attacks
Heart Failure
Worsening of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)