World Sleep Day is intended to advance sleep health worldwide. The mission involves all professions involved in the health and well being of the world’s population. This involves education of the healthcare professionals and patients as well. Our mission as well as our vision is to promote the role of the dentist in an effort to help patients achieve better health through better sleep. How can the Dentist impact better sleep? There are many ways that involve:
- Educating the Dentist about how to recognize someone at risk for a sleep disorder – primarily sleep apnea and snoring
- Educating patients about the various health related consequences associated with poor sleep and sleep disorders – these include both medical and dental conditions such as Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, High Blood Pressure and even Periodontal (Gum) Disease
- Assisting people with obtaining a diagnosis of their sleep disorder
- Facilitating the management of the sleep disorder and in the case of sleep apnea and snoring a Dentist will use an oral device or appliance that repositions the lower jaw and supports the airway for improved quiet breathing
- Providing ongoing communication with physicians regarding the care of the patient
- And most of all an improved Quality of Life through an improved Quality of Sleep
Overall the goal is to spread the word about the importance of sleep to Dentists and patients through education and enlightenment.
Oral Devices for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Oral Devices (Oral Appliances) reposition the lower jaw, opening the airway and stabilizing both the jaw and tongue, thus preventing the lower jaw and tongue from collapsing back during sleep. This helps stabilize the breathing, opens the airway (see circle) and prevents airway collapse. This in turn lessens and may even resolve the apnea and as an added bonus reduces or eliminates snoring.
Advantages of Oral Devices
There is a growing body of scientific literature that has demonstrated the overall effectiveness of Oral Appliances for the management of snoring in the absence of sleep apnea, for mild to moderate sleep apnea as an option and for people who are unable to tolerate the CPAP device. The major advantages of an Oral Appliance:
- People tolerate them well and as such will use them for more hours per night and more nights per week or month
- Because they are used for longer periods of time the overall effectiveness is equivalent to CPAP – this applies to health concerns such as blood pressure and Diabetes type II
- These devices have been shown to provide positive long-term outcomes
- They are minimally cumbersome and as such are comfortable
- The devices are easily transported (easy to travel with)
- Require minimal care and maintenance
Oral Appliances are best provided by a Dentist who has been adequately educated and trained in sleep medicine, as well as in the use of a variety of oral appliances and especially trained to address any negative outcomes (side effects) that may occur.
How will you help to raise awareness of sleep and sleep-related breathing disorders on World Sleep Day this year? At TEE, our mission as well as our vision is to promote the role of the dentist in an effort to help patients achieve better health through better sleep.