Dental Sleep Medicine is a highly specialized and multidisciplinary area of dentistry that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This challenging area is of particular interest to oral and maxillofacial (OMF) surgeons, orthodontists, oral medicine and oral pathology specialists, orofacial pain specialists and dentists specializing in dental sleep medicine. In addition, it often includes collaboration with medical specialists in the fields of ear, nose and throat, neurology, pulmonary diseases, internal medicine and psychiatry.
Lobbezoo, de Vries, N., de Lange, J., & Aarab, G. (2020). A further introduction to dental sleep medicine. Nature and Science of Sleep, 12, 1173–1179. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSS.S276425
Why is sleep important?
Sleep apnea can affect any one at any age, although men are more likely to develop the disorder. The risk is also greater for those:
- over 40
- with large tonsils, large tongue or small jaw
- with a family history of sleep apnea
- with a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems including:
- high blood pressure
- heart failure, irregular heartbeat and heart attack
- worsening of ADHD.
American Dental Association. (2022). Sleep apnea and snoring. In Mouth Healthy. Retrieved from https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sleep-apnea-and-snoring?utm_source=mouthhealthyorg&utm_medium=mhtopstories&utm_content=sleep-apnea
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
Your partner may alert you to some of the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as:
- Breathing that starts and stops during sleep
- Frequent loud snoring
- Gasping for air during sleep
You may also notice the following symptoms yourself:
- Daytime sleepiness and tiredness, which can lead to problems learning, focusing, and reacting
- Dry mouth or headaches
- Sexual dysfunction or decreased libido
- Waking up often during the night to urinate
Children who have sleep apnea may be overactive and may experience bedwetting, worsening asthma, and trouble paying attention in school.:
Sleep apnea: Symptoms. (2022, March 24). In NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep-apnea/symptoms