Sleep apnea and snoring are two related but distinct sleep disorders that can significantly affect a person's sleep quality and overall health. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep and is often accompanied by snoring. Snoring refers to the vibration of throat tissues due to partially blocked airways. Both conditions can impact sleep quality and overall health & well-being, It can also have a negative impact on one's significant other or sleep partner. It's important to seek medical advice if you suspect you or someone you know may be affected.
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At your consultation, Dr. Hlavaty will go through a questionair with you & help determine whether you are having snoring issues, or actual episodes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). For simple snoring issues, there are oral appliances that we can have custom made for you at one of our labs. These work wonders for stopping snoring & letting you (Or others around you) get a better night sleep. If you are experiencing the more severe issues related to OSA, we will refer you to a local Sleep Specialist Physician. They will typically want to have you do a sleep study to accurately diagnose the severity of the OSA. Based on the physician's diagnosis, there are different ways to treat this sleep disorder.
Once we have received a report/diagnosis from the Sleep Specialist, we will meet again to go through the options for Treatment. Less severe cases of OSA can be managed well with oral-appliances that advance your lower jaw in order to keep your airway open & free of obstruction. More severe cases may require treatment with a CPAP machine or a combination of both. Many sleep apnea sufferers are prescribed a CPAP machine from their doctor and while this is a highly effective solution with a near 100% success rate, this machine is difficult to sleep with so a large portion of people are non-compliant, only using it occasionally. Oral Appliances are CPAP alternatives that help by keeping the airway open. They are increasing in popularity due to the fact that they are comfortable, portable, durable, and highly-effective.
Once a plan is in place & we have determined (working with your Sleep Specialist) what type of appliance will work best for you, we will take a digital scan impression of your teeth as well as measurements of your jaw & bite. We will then send these to the lab that will fabricate your appliance. These appliances look similar to nighguards or sportsguards and work by advancing your lower jaw in relation to your upper jaw and mechanically opening up your airway. This advancement of the jaw also helps keep the tongue out of the airway to stop the snoring.
Once we have the oral appliance back from the lab, we will fit it to make sure it works seamlessly in your mouth. We will then make adjustments to ensure that it provides the proper amount of advancement of your jaw to keep your airway open & clear. We will also instruct you as to the proper way to clean, maintain, & store your appliance so that it will last for years & years. We will ask you (& your partner) to keep a log of how well the appliance is working & will typically want to see you back in the following weeks to discuss how the appliance is working and to determine if additional adjustments may be needed.
Once we have your appliance adjusted & working properly, we will typically want to see you back every few months to make sure it is adjusted properly & functioning in a way that is providing you the relief you need. This follow up can be done in conjunction with your cleaning/hygiene appointment and your yearly X-rays & Exam.
Daytime Sleepiness and Fatigue - Sleep apnea and chronic snoring disrupt the normal sleep cycle, leading to poor sleep quality. As a result, individuals may experience excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and a lack of energy. This can impair concentration, memory, and overall cognitive function, affecting daily activities, work performance, and quality of life.
Increased Risk of Accidents - Sleep apnea and snoring can increase the risk of accidents, both while driving and during other activities that require alertness and attention. Excessive daytime sleepiness can lead to impaired reaction times, decreased vigilance, and difficulty staying awake, posing a danger to oneself and others.
Cardiovascular Complications - Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. The repeated pauses in breathing during sleep can cause fluctuations in blood oxygen levels and elevated blood pressure. Over time, this strain on the cardiovascular system can contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiac issues.
Mental Health Issues - Sleep apnea and snoring have been linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. The disrupted sleep patterns, daytime fatigue, and reduced overall well-being can contribute to or exacerbate these conditions.
Impaired Quality of Life - Chronic snoring and sleep apnea can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. The disruptions to sleep and the associated symptoms can lead to irritability, mood swings, decreased motivation, decreased libido, and strained personal relationships.
Health Complications - Sleep apnea has been linked to various health complications, including an increased risk of developing or worsening conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and liver problems.
Digital x-rays are fast, comfortable, and safe. High-resolution images help us make more accurate diagnoses while exposing you to a fraction of the radiation used by traditional film x-rays. Most patients will get a full set of x-rays to begin with, followed by yearly checkup x-rays. However, additional imaging may be recommended one if you have a potential issue or if you have experienced a dental emergency.
Fluoride treatments are easy to add to any routine preventive visit, and are great for helping keep dental decay at bay. After your cleaning, your dentist will apply a fluoride-rich varnish or gel to your teeth, and leave it in place for several minutes before rinsing it away. Fluoride helps to strengthen your enamel through a process called “remineralization,” which works by attracting minerals like calcium and phosphates to your teeth, helping to restore their hardness and increase their resistance to acids.
Dental sealants are most commonly recommended for children who may be high-risk for tooth decay, but they’re also a great option for patients of any age who wish to protect themselves from developing cavities. A relatively straight-forward procedure, dental sealants start with the application of dental resin, usually to the rear teeth, as they have more grooves and uneven surfaces where plaque and bacteria can easily hide. A UV light will be used to cure the resin, hardening it and creating a powerful barrier between your enamel and food debris, acid, or bacteria. When applied correctly, dental sealants can last for years!
Many patients struggle with gum disease, and if left untreated, can risk losing their teeth and other problems. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is the only stage that can actually be reversed with deep cleanings and attentive at-home hygiene. If you have gum disease, keeping up with your regular cleanings and checkups will help you gain control over your oral health before it’s too late!
For patients with more advanced stages of periodontitis, we recommend scheduling deep cleanings at more frequent intervals, usually every three to four months. Although the effects of advanced gum disease can’t be reversed, deep cleanings, scaling, and root planing can halt the progression of periodontitis and help preserve your oral health.
Oral cancer screenings are an important part of every preventive care visit. Catching oral cancer in its early stages allows us to stop it before it spreads, and can save your life. That’s why we’ll always check for signs of oral cancer at every preventive visit.
Your dentist will examine your oral tissues, like your gums and tongue, keeping an eye out for abnormalities like lesions, lumps, discolorations. If we find anything unusual, we’ll take a biopsy and send it out to a specialist for a thorough analysis. Although oral cancer isn’t overly common, it’s important to remain proactive and consistent with your oral healthcare routine, so we can identify any issues before they become major problems.
Teeth grinding and clenching while sleeping is a common issue faced by many patients. Night guards are a great solution for this unconscious clenching, also known as bruxism. Night guards form a soft barrier that protects your teeth from damage caused by the pressure of clenching and grinding. Your dentist will take an impression or a scan of your teeth and gums to create a unique mold that will be sent to a dental lab, where your night guard will be custom-crafted. Night guards work by easing the tension in your jaw, alleviating the painful headaches and other side effects of clenching and grinding, so you can get the sleep you need and keep your teeth from wearing down.
Sports mouth guards are worn over the teeth, just like night guards. However sports guards are designed specifically to protect your smile from dental injuries that are so common when playing high-intensity impact sports. Custom-fitted sports guards can help protect athletes from oral trauma caused by collisions to the mouth, face, and head. If you play football, basketball, baseball, soccer, rugby, hockey, gymnastics, mountain biking, or other activities that put you at risk for injury due from falls, body contact, or flying objects, ask us about getting fitted for a custom sports guard today! Tailored to fit your unique smile, sports guards are comfortable, durable, and won’t stop you from playing the sports you love.