Month: March 2016

Davie Sleep Apnea Dentist on the Health Effects of Snoring

How Snoring Can Be an Indicator of Serious Health Issues—Davie Sleep Apnea Dentist Explains

Loud snoring can be more than a nocturnal annoyance.  It can be an audible alarm that a potentially dangerous, even deadly health condition exists.  Snoring can cause sleep deprivation for both the person snoring and those who are sleeping along with them. There is also a strong correlation between snoring and the increased risk of more serious health conditions like:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Carotid artery atherosclerosis
  • Brain damage

The medical community has clinical evidence that most people who snore have some level of a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Snoring is much more than an annoyance. If your partner complains of your frequent loud snoring or if you find yourself waking up gasping for air, you need to be evaluated for your risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea and How is it Treated?

Essentially OAS is caused when the soft tissue at the back of your throat relaxes and partially collapses cutting off the airway. In fact the “snoring sound” is caused by the vibration of this relaxed tissue as you unconsciously try to force air in and out of the airway. Cutting off the airway interrupts the supply of oxygen to both the brain and heart not to mention the other organs in your body. This oxygen deprivation is at the heart of the threat that OSA presents.

While some cases of obstructive sleep apnea can be “cured” surgically, most are “treated” by creating space between the soft pallet and the tongue keeping the airway open and preventing snoring. The two most common therapies are:

  • Dental appliances. These are customized devices that fit over your teeth and slightly adjust the position of the jaw. They allow for normal speech, sipping water and are extremely effective and well tolerated by patients.
  • CPAC. This system works by providing a steady stream of air under pressure while the patient sleeps. The airway is kept open through the force of the air. CPAC requires that the patient wear a mask connected to a hose connected to an electric pump. It is not well tolerated and most patients abandon it after 30 days.

See a Trained Weston Dentist or Sleep Disorder Specialist

Not surprisingly, a dentist like Dr. Pyle who is trained in identifying sleep apnea can be the first healthcare provider who spots the symptoms while performing a routine dental exam. Dr. Pyle refers his patients to a sleep disorder M.D. for diagnosis and then works closely with that doctor to craft a custom dental appliance for the patient.

If you believe you or a partner may have OSA we would encourage you to call our Weston office today and schedule an exam with Dr. Pyle.

Weston Sleep Apnea Dentist on Getting Your Husband to Stop Snoring

Weston Dentist Explains How to Get Your Husband to Stop Snoring at Night

If your husband’s snoring is becoming a serious domestic issue, you need to arrange an appointment with Dr. Stephen J. Pyle DDS, Weston’s snoring specialist. We all snore occasionally. Head colds, allergies and sinus problems can make all of us instant mouth breathers when we sleep and snoring can be a normal result of a blocked nasal passage.

But if your husband:

  • Snores regularly and loudly
  • Stops breathing for short periods of time
  • Wakes up gasping for air
  • Feels drowsy when he gets up in the morning and becomes easily fatigued during the day

Your husband may be suffering from a serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked by collapsed soft tissue and/or the tongue. It cuts off oxygen to the brain and can lead to stroke, heart attack and even diabetes. As difficult as life has become for you thanks to his sleep interrupting snoring, your husband may be at serious risk.

See a Weston Dentist for Snoring?

That’s not as counterintuitive as it sounds. A dentist who has been trained to identify the symptoms in the mouth and throat is in an excellent position to determine the risk during a routine dental exam. A dentist cannot diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but he can refer you to a sleep disorder specialist.

Treatment of OSA has traditionally been a forced air system called CPAP. This is a machine that forces air down the throat keeping the airway open. It sends the forced air via a hose to a mask the patient wears at night. If you thought his snoring was disturbing, wait until he climbs into bed with a mask and hose.

The second treatment is a dental appliance, a far more natural treatment available from Dr. Pyle’s practice. The custom made appliance fits in the mouth and slightly repositions the jaw. Wearing the appliance does not impede speech and even allows drinking of liquids. This therapy, understandably, has a much higher acceptance rate by patients than the CPAP system.

While snoring sounds innocuous we know the stress it can cause in a relationship. When neither partner is getting sufficient sleep spats and disagreements are almost inevitable. However, if the snoring is caused by sleep apnea there is a relatively easy fix.

If you think your husband may be suffering from sleep apnea, call our Weston dental office today and arrange an evaluation.

Weston TMJ Dentist on How to Stop Clenching & Grinding Your Teeth

5 Ways to Stop Clenching & Grinding Your Teeth

Clenching and grinding your teeth (bruxism) at night can not only result in jaw pain and damaged teeth but could be indicative of other problems that only a Weston dentist trained in TMJ can identify. If you are constantly waking up with a sore jaw or what you believe to be an ear ache you should call our office and arrange for an evaluation.

Clenching and grinding teeth during the day is often caused by psychological reasons. For example grinding or clenching teeth is a common coping mechanism among children to help tem focus on a problem. However, grinding teeth at night may be caused by a medical problem including obstructive sleep apnea, acid reflux, abnormal alignment of upper or lower teeth and needs to be evaluated and treated by a trained dentist or sleep disorder specialist.

When to Visit a Dentist or Sleep Disorder Specialist

Often times people will grind or clench their teeth without even being aware that they are doing it. Grinding takes some time before there will be physical evidence of a problem so it may not be picked up in a regular dental exam unless you mention soreness in your jaw or other symptoms.

However, you know it’s time to visit the dentist when:

  • Your teeth are worn, damaged or sensitive
  • You have pain in your jaw, face or ear
  • Others complain that you make a grinding noise while you sleep
  • You have a locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
  • You have frequent dull headaches that seem to be originating from your temples
  • You detect damage to the tissue inside your mouth from biting

At your dental visit the dentist will do an exam but also ask numerous questions regarding stress issues in your life and medications you currently use. Once a diagnosis has been made there are multiple treatments including these 5:

  1. Mouth guard that is worn at night that prevents contact between upper and lower teeth
  2. Dental correction which may include reshaping chewing surfaces by use of crowns
  3. Referral to stress management
  4. Referral to a biofeedback programs
  5. Referral to a sleep disorder specialist who may prescribe muscle relaxants

Clenching and grinding is more than an annoying habit. Aside from the facial pain involved, over time it can cause serious damage to the way you chew. If you believe it’s time to have an evaluation, call us today and arrange an appointment!