Taking Control of Your Snoring Disorder
Dr. Enrico DiVito is a general and cosmetic dentist who specializes in laser dentistry at the Arizona Center for Laser Dentistry in North Scottsdale. A graduate of Arizona State University and the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, Dr. DiVito returned to Arizona and established a private practice in 1980. He founded the Arizona Center for Laser Dentistry in 2007. In this article, he explains how a visit to the dentist could impact the amount of rest you get each night.
A good number of the patients who have trouble sleeping or bother their partner by snoring all night have what is called sleep apnea. What is happening is that a person who has sleep apnea may actually stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at multiple times during the night, which can obviously be disruptive to the body. And while a dentist might not be the first person you would think to call about your snoring or sleep problems, there is actually quite a bit that we can do to help.
There are two common forms of sleep apnea; however what is most common is something call obstructive sleep apnea. This is something that occurs when your windpipe gets blocked by your uvula, tonsils, tongue, throat tissue, or the muscles in your throat. Dental devices can be worn to help treat sleep apnea, but another thing we that are able to do is adjust the jaw. By moving the jaw into a different position, we are able to essentially stop the airway obstruction problem for many of our patients. I say this, meaning that we can stop the sleep apnea without resorting to the use of a medical device for a lot of people.
A good majority of our patients who are treated for this are able to get great results, without having to wear what is known as a CPAP, or a continuous positive airway pressure. For some other people who decide to go the medical route, they might be forced to wear a helmet. But we here at the Arizona Center for Laser Dentistry have a number of ways that we are able to treat people that are much less invasive. One of these is a mouthpiece that is specially made to fit the patient’s mouth. We can fit it to our patients right here in the office, and for a lot of people that can lead to have a great night’s sleep.
We have actually been treating patients with snoring problems and sleep apnea for a while, so helping people is this situation is nothing new for us. Most patients who come to us are people who have already gone to their primary physician and asked for a CPAP. However, that device can be really cumbersome to your mate in bed. Because of that, it is inhibitive for a lot of people, even though it works.
What happens if someone is told to wear something that is inhibitive, as I’m sure you could guess, is that they just don’t wear it. In fact, statistics show that more than 50% of patients who are told to wear a CPAP do not end up wearing it when they go to sleep each night.
For these patients, for whom a cumbersome device is simply not an option due to their sleep schedule or their partner, they are coming to us and asking if there is another alternative to wearing a CPAP or undergoing surgery.
So as a dentist who works with patients to treat snoring issues and sleep apnea, what I can offer them is a non=surgical and conservative therapeutic approach to whatever sleeping issue they are facing.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.