Dental Solution to Sleep Problems

I’m  pleased to announce that Grants Ferry Family Dentistry is now offering a new service- the treatment of sleep disorders! This may not sound like the most exciting subject to you, but it’s been on my practice ” to do” list for over a year now. You wouldn’t believe the training, knowledge, investment, and sheer determination that goes into implementing this service into our practice, and I’m so proud that the team has stepped on board to help make it happen. Ok, ok, a little about what it actually is and how we can help!

Sleep disorders can range from light snoring to multiple episodes of not breathing throughout the night. It can be just a nuisance to your bed partner or a deadly disorder that requires immediate action. An estimated 1 in 4 men and 1 in 10 women suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder characterized by the narrowing or complete closure of the airway during sleep. Why should we even worry about this? Here is where I list all the diseases/disorders/conditions that are linked to sleep apnea: stroke, dementia, diabetes, impotence, heart attack, acid reflux, auto accidents, periodontal disease, obesity, hypertension, cancer, depression. Wow! When I learned the science behind how sleep apnea increased the risk of all of these conditions, my mind was blown. And the fact that there are many physical traits of the oral cavity that are associated with an increased risk, such as large tongue, overbite, grinding of the teeth, and shape of the palate and airway, I felt an obligation to treat this!

Many of you have heard of sleep apnea and probably know someone who treats it with CPAP… you know, the crazy looking mask that blows air down your throat so that it stays open enough for you to breathe while you sleep?? What if I told you there is another option? What if I told you your health insurance may pay for it? That’s where I come in! Research now shows that mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea can be treated effectively with custom made oral appliances, referred to as Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD). The MAD (pictured above) advances the mandible to a slightly forward posture, bringing the muscles of the tongue forward and opening the airway. Pretty simple and generally much more tolerable than CPAP therapy.

Do you think you or someone you know may suffer from a sleep disorder? Maybe he or she snores so loudly that you can’t sleep in the same room. Maybe you feel exhausted half way through the day, and you don’t know why. Maybe you’re just curious to know if you may have it. The first step is determining the condition of your sleep, and, at GFFD, we’ve got that covered! A sleep test can be sent home with you to simply hook up and wear in the comfort of your own bed for one night. The next morning, an interpretation will be presented to you to determine where to go from there.

So next time you come in, expect to have a discussion on the quality of your sleep. It’s too important to ignore!

For more information on sleep disorders or to find out if you may be a candidate for a Mandibular Advancement Device, schedule a consultation at Grants Ferry Family Dentistry.