Dental sleep medicine is the care and treatment of adults and children who have different types of sleep breathing disorders. The emphasis of dental sleep medicine is identifying those patients who show signs and symptoms of sleep breathing disorders; screening them in collaboration with a sleep physician; and using proven and effective oral appliances to treat the sleep breathing disorder, if appropriate. In severe cases, dental sleep medicine treatments may include oral surgery or upper airway surgery. To learn more about sleep breathing disorder treatments, click here.
Because dentists see many of their patients every 6 to 12 months, it is likely that they may be the first healthcare professionals to discover that an adult or child has a sleep breathing disorder. Often undiagnosed in as many as 12 million Americans, sleep breathing disorders can be potentially dangerous and life threatening if not treated properly. To learn more about sleep breathing disorders, click here.
Although there are more than 89 types of sleep breathing disorders, the most common are:
Snoring is the sound created when you breath during sleep, and the soft tissues in your mouth and throat relax, causing your airway to narrow and become smaller—or partially obstructed. Your soft palate and uvula vibrate when you inhale and exhale, causing the sound of snoring. Men and people who are overweight are more likely to snore, and the problem gets worse with age. People who snore have been shown to have three times more car accidents than people who don’t snore, and snoring can be a strong sign that the person has a more serious sleep breathing disorder, such as sleep apnea. To learn more about snoring, click here.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing during sleep and is a common problem for both adults and children. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by an airway blockage from excessive tissue in the back of the tongue, throat or nose. Untreated sleep apnea affects your well-being and may lead to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and erectile dysfunction, as well as loss of memory and concentration. Because sleep apnea reduces sleep quality and contributes to daytime sleepiness, driving becomes more dangerous. In fact, sleep apnea is a leading cause of many car accidents. To learn more about obstructive sleep apnea, click here.
Todd Fincher, DDS, and his team have been trained in dental sleep medicine and can help you determine if you have a sleep breathing disorder. In consultation with the sleep physician specialists at Greenwood Leflore Hospital Sleep Disorders Center, Dr. Fincher will coordinate sleep breathing disorder screening and diagnostic tests to determine your specific disorder and the type of treatment that’s best for you. To learn more about screening for sleep breathing disorders, click here.
Then, depending on your diagnosis, Dr. Fincher will provide a custom, state-of-the-art oral appliance that is comfortable, convenient, and has been proven by scientific research to treat patients with sleep breathing disorders. To learn more about oral appliances for sleep breathing disorders, click here.