Our understanding of sleep has improved greatly in the past several years. We now are much more aware of the great importance of getting the deep restorative sleep that our body craves, and the detrimental consequences of not consistently achieving this deep sleep. This deep sleep deprivation can lead to, among other things, the chronic release of stress hormones, hypertension, weight gain, exacerbating diabetes, irritability, and be more susceptible to a cold or the flu. You can wake up tired and just drag through the day. I have this condition, and I thought I was “just getting older”. I used to drink a lot of coffee, and engage in adrenaline sports just so that I could feel awake. I would go to bed exhausted and wake up tired. But when I treated it, my alertness and vigor for life went up greatly. I feel more relaxed, and I believe I just added several years to my life.
Medical doctors who specialize in sleep medicine have found that many of us have an obstructed airway when we sleep, preventing us from getting the more restful sleep. They refer to this as Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. When this is found, they can offer one of many surgical procedures, or prescribe a respiratory therapist to fit a device known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine or CPAP.
Unfortunately, for some people these are not sufficiently helpful or tolerated. There is also a dental device available that can make all the difference for treating this condition for these patients. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (aasm.org) is the organization for the sleep specialists in medicine. It is their recommendation that these dental devices can be as effective as a CPAP for those patients who have mild to moderate OSA, and can be helpful for those with severe OSA who cannot tolerate a CPAP.
Here at Cunnington Dental, we like to work with your physician in managing this life-threatening condition. With the doctor’s prescription, I can make patients a device that they bite into that will hold their jaw in a more forward position so that they can achieve a deeper more restful sleep. This can add years and greatly improve the quality of their life!