Dentists and doctors work together to help you sleep

July 12, 2013

Do you snore? Your dentist can provide a snore guard to help you (and your partner) sleep better. But snoring can be a sign of a bigger problem, including sleep apnea, which can cause a host of issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression, and other ailments. In fact, people with sleep apnea are SEVENTEEN times more prone to stroke and heart attack than the rest of the population!

Having a comprehensive and knowledgeable health care team in your corner – one that includes your dentist – is the best defense against these issues. If you snore, your dentist may recommend that you see your MD or a sleep clinic to help alleviate the problem; some dentists even partner with sleep clinics to help their patients achieve optimal health and quality of life.

The first step a sleep clinic will take is to figure out whether you’re just snoring, or if you have sleep apnea. You’ll need to spend the night there, and sleep experts will monitor your sleep patterns with an EEG, keep track of your heart rate with an EKG, and check your breathing response, your ability to wake yourself up, and determine when you enter REM sleep and how often. They’ll use that information to figure out what help you need, and may put you a CPAP machine (a machine that uses air pressure to keep the throat open and unobstructed) to alleviate your apnea and help you sleep better.

Sometimes it takes longer than it should to get sleep apnea diagnosed. That’s why it’s important for medical professionals to work together to help patients. Our clinic will soon be launching a groundbreaking program that pairs our services up with sleep clinic expertise.

Our program will start off with devices you can use at home to record your sleep patterns, right in your own bed. It’s an ideal solution; we can take that sleep data, confer with experts, and help diagnose the problem, without having to go through the hassle and discomfort of having to spend the night in a clinic. It’s an approach that offers the best of both worlds; it helps us determine your needs so we can figure out the right tools (snore guard, CPAP, further diagnosis), make referrals and help you get the comprehensive care you need.

What is sleep apnea?
The Greek word apnea means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing during sleep. You stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. In most cases, you don’t wake up, so you’re not aware of the breath stoppages.

Want to know more about sleep snoring, sleep apnea, or our upcoming sleep apnea program? We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Call us at 905 637-5463 (KIND) or at info@desiredsmiles.com anytime.

 

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