What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea and UARS (Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome) are common sleep disorders caused by breathing disorders in patients. Such breathing disorders often go unnoticed as a result of modern lifestyles and environments. They become more apparent during sleep as the jaw and tongue muscles become more relaxed and some obstruction to the breathing begins.
The condition can be serious as it leads to poor sleep, reduced cognition and ability to function optimally and in serious conditions hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Signs of Sleep Apnea/UARS
1. Poor growth, narrow jaws and crooked teeth
2. Heavy Breathing during Sleep
4. Tossing and turning in bed
5. Light Sleep
6. Waking up during sleep
7. Need to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night
8. Tiredness/Sleepiness in the day
9. In children is hyperactivity or sign or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
How Does It Affect People With Sleep Apnea And UARS?
Thru a combination of factors of shortened breast feeding period in infants, lack of hard diet to stimulate chewing and jaw growth, consumption of highly processed food and sugar, environmental pollution and crowding, modern day adults grow up with a smaller jaw and also allergies are common
Because the upper jaw is narrow the nose is also narrow and tend to be blocked. Runny nose, sinus issues and allergies compound the problem and this results in mouth breathing. Mouth breathing further results in crooked teeth and narrow jaw and impacts on tongue space. As a result of less tongue space the risk of obstruction increases during sleep; leading to UARS and Sleep apnea condition worsening.
How Does Dentistry Help With Sleep Apnea?
Dentists play a critical role in the management of sleep apnea together with Ear , Nose and Throat Surgeons and Sleep physicians. Dentist are able to perform jaw expansion (which also widens the nose and helps in breathing), tongue tie release to alleviate snoring, straighten the teeth to gain more tongue space as well as move the lower jaw forward thru orthodontics and appliances. The combination of these treatment helps to increase the intra oral as nose volume and can help alleviate UARS and Sleep apnea symptom. In addition in patient with severely worn teeth the restoration of the teeth can also increase tongue space. This process is called a Smile Lift.