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Sleep Apnea: What Can Help?

Perhaps you or someone you know has or currently is experiencing effects of this sleep disorder.

One in five adults in the US has mild OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), with over 42 million Americans suffering from sleep-disordered breathing a year. (source: http://www.bergerhenryent.com/sleep-apnea-statistics-2016/)

Through the use of custom appliances like the TAP appliance. Dr. Heather Clark has helped many patients to have happier days after the better nights rest.

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What is Sleep Apnea?


Originally stemming from its word apnea meaning “without breath, especially during sleep,” OSA disorder refers to the blockage of airflow through the nose and mouth, causing an intermittent pause in breathing or extremely light breathing, followed by a dramatic return to normal breathing flow through loud snoring or potential choking sounds.

During this process, the body is advertently affected into a lighter sleep. As a result, a person with sleep apnea struggles with insomniatic symptoms. Additionally, excessive drowsiness or fatigue can affect a person struggling with OSA during waking hours.

Common Factors and Symptoms

Sleep Apnea (OSA) most commonly affects the following person:

  • Male, age 60+

  • Obese

  • Smoking and alcohol use

  • Neck size greater than 17 inches

  • Abnormal airway (small upper airway including mouth and nose)

Other factors that may contribute include family genetic history with sleep disorder, sinus issues or allergies.

When your sleep is affected by OSA, your life is affected. There’s a greater risk you will have problems with blood pressure, heart issues including failure or attack, strokes and diabetes. In addition, fatigue and drowsiness,increases the risk of accident (driving or work-related.)

How Early does Sleep Apnea Start?

Only in the last 20 years has clinical research established the connection between certain increasingly adult issues like Sleep Apnea with  common childhood health issues and a single likely root cause – Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). The symptoms associated with SDB can vary from one child to the next, but even mild SDB (mouth breathing, crowded teeth, snoring) can point to serious underlying health issues and the need for treatment.

The central issue for many children suffering from the effects of SDB is a compromised airway. When a child’s airway is narrow, underdeveloped, or constricted in any way, the child will struggle to get enough oxygen at night and may resort to mouth breathing. Bringing the upper and lower jaws forward while making them wider can help open up the airway of a growing child.

A Better Way to Help Your Child

In the late 1960’s, Dr. Earl O. Bergersen, an orthodontist from Chicago, developed a novel way of straightening teeth using comfortable oral appliances.

Since that time, his breakthrough has proven very effective in creating big beautiful smiles in over 3,000,000 cases around the world. Today’s modern version of those appliances comprises what is known as the Healthy Start system.

Healthy Start is about far more than straight teeth. The most important feature of the Healthy Start system is that it can help develop and widen a child’s airway, allowing many children the opportunity to get the oxygen and deep sleep their growing bodies require.

What You Can Do

You can change the course of your OSA! Though sleep apnea is a chronic condition that must continually be managed, it has possibility for improvement. Some of the most common options include lifestyle changes, the aid of mouthpieces, such as oral appliances* or surgery. Dr. Heather Clark helps treat children and adults suffering from Sleep Apnea. Call us for a consultation at (816) 232-1444 or send us an email at admin@clarkfamilysmiles.com. We are conveniently located at  1331 Village Dr. St. Joseph, MO 64506 and look forward to helping you and your loved ones get a better nights rest.

*Read about oral appliance therapy:

AADSM.org

sleepassociation.org

Your dentist or orthodontist can help you to find the best option that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Get Help Today! Call us at 816-232-1444 to speak with a professional at Clark Family Dentistry.