How Can A Dentist Help with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

How Can A Dentist Help with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

How can a dentist help with obstructive sleep apnea and teeth grinding? Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is when the tongue relaxes and slides backward during sleep, blocking or obstructing airway passages.  This results in snoring and waking up gasping for air.  It also prevents the lungs, brain, heart and other organs from receiving life sustaining oxygen.  Untreated OSA can increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, acid reflux, diabetes and has been linked to teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism.

Teeth grinding, affects millions of people and normally occurs while you sleep.  This makes it difficult to diagnose. 

Do you ever wake up with a sore jaw, headache, tender teeth or stiff neck? 

The National Sleep Foundation has found that approximately 25 percent of people with OSA also show signs of sleep Bruxism.

Similar results were found in studies using polysomnography, a type of in-depth sleep study completed in specially designed clinics. The clinics closely monitor the subjects as opposed to other studies that depend on surveys of self-noted sleep apnea or teeth grinding subjects.

So, how does your dentist fit into the picture?

Specially trained dental professionals, like Dr. Abeyta, can be a valuable asset in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.  Once diagnosed, a dentist can help you understand the disorder and treatment options.

A dentist can check the patient’s mouth, teeth, and jaw to determine whether they are a good fit for a mandibular advancement device.

A comprehensive dentist can recommend life changes such as diet and exercise to help improve the quality of sleep and the patience overall health. 

A dentist can work closely with their patients to make sure their oral appliance is working and improving their condition.  Patients who are regularly monitored have proven to get the best results.

If you are experiencing bruxism symptoms or are struggling to sleep soundly at night, don’t wait to schedule an appointment for yourself or a family member.  The team at Dr. Abeyta’s office will sit down with you and discuss the best plan to get you on the right track to a healthy mouth and body. Call today to make your appointment 505-293-7611.

Holistic dentistry – treating the whole patient – Part 1

What is holistic dentistry?

You may have heard the phrase, “the mouth is the gateway to the body.” This is true in an obvious sense – our mouths allow us to intake food, water, and sometimes air. But it is also true in a deeper sense. Many problems that affect the entire body can be detected first in a patient’s mouth. However, they can only be detected if someone is looking for them. Enter holistic dentistry. When you choose a holistic dentist, you’re choosing a professional with the training and expertise to detect early warning signs and symptoms of problems that run far deeper than your pearly whites. In this article, we’ll discuss sleep apnea and other airway issues, TMD, and OMDs.

Dr. Abeyta recently appeared in ABQ Magazine discussing sleep apnea and airway issues

Dr. Abeyta recently appeared in ABQ Magazine discussing sleep apnea and airway issues

Airway issues

In survival school, they teach the rule of 3s. You can go 3 weeks without food and 3 days without water, but only about 3 minutes without air. For something so crucial, most people don’t spend much time thinking about breathing. Fortunately for her patients, Dr. Abeyta does. She is an expert in craniosacral airway issues, and knows what signs and symptoms to look for in her patients. Two of the most common airway issues in America are sleep apnea and mouth breathing.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a very common condition, with tens of millions of Americans suffering from it every year. Unfortunately, a vast number of these cases go undiagnosed. Sleep apnea starves the patient’s sleeping brain of oxygen, both causing and contributing to a myriad of health issues. To learn more about it, check out our sleep apnea page.

Mouth Breathing

Humans breathe in two ways – through our nose and through our mouths. So, what’s wrong with breathing through your mouth? Nothing, as long as you’re doing it at the right time. It’s natural to breathe through your mouth during exercise, or other times when your body is running short on oxygen. However, some people get into the habit of breathing through their mouths at inappropriate times, most notably during sleep.

Check back soon for Holistic dentistry – treating the whole patient Part 2

Sleep Apnea – Detection and Treatment

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What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is very common. Around 20 million Americans have it, many cases of which are unfortunately undiagnosed. Many with the disorder experience only mild symptoms, so much so that they may never notice. However, many other sufferers experience severe, even debilitating symptoms.

The word apnea comes from the Greek apnoia, meaning “breathless”. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing in their sleep, often many times in a single night. Since the pauses are brief, they never reach full consciousness, and therefore are often unaware of any problem.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and a combination of the two. Obstructive is by far the most common – obstructive and mixed together account for around 99.6% of cases. For more information about the differences between obstructive and central, check out our sleep apnea page.

The big problem with sleep apnea is that it cuts the amount of oxygen reaching the brain during sleep. This has serious and wide ranging consequences. Sufferers often wake up feeling unrested, even when they believe they got a full night of sleep. It diminishes focus, raises blood pressure, contributes to depression, worsens diabetes and ADHD, and can cause headaches and even a stroke.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2378″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_3d”][vc_column_text]

Treating Sleep Apnea

The most common treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Just as the name implies, a CPAP raises the pressure in your airway just enough to prevent your throat from closing during sleep, thereby preventing apneas. There are other treatments that may be appropriate depending on the severity of the disorder, ranging from appliances worn during sleep to surgical procedures designed to open the airway.

Recognizing Sleep Apnea

Before you can treat it, you have to know it’s there. With this in mind, Dr. Abeyta is a member of a growing group of dental professionals who have training in recognizing the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in their patients. Dentists are in a particularly good position to detect the disorder, since they’re already examining their patients’ mouths on a regular basis. Choosing a dentist with this kind of training could save you from very serious health issues down the road.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]