Airway Health Goes Beyond the Snore

A husband snores while his wife tried to sleep ... airway health

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Sure, your spouse snoring away may not be the calming, rhythmic sound you were looking forward to as you drift off to sleep, but perhaps it’s actually worth taking a listen to, after all. As it turns out, snoring is just one common sign of potentially serious airway health issues that could be causing a number of other problems in your or your children’s everyday lives.

I know what you’re thinking: “Snoring is potentially dangerous? More like just annoying.”

But that’s just it – snoring is only a symptom of the larger issue: sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD). Common nighttime breathing disorders include obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) – both of which interrupt the normal sleeping patterns of adults and children, causing cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, weight gain, headaches, memory problems and respiratory complications.

Sleep apnea, the involuntary cessation of breathing during sleep, comes from the Greek word that literally translates to “without breath.” It can be extremely alarming for those who witness a loved one going through a spell of sleep apnea, but, luckily, the person with it is rarely aware. Specifically, OSA, one of three different types of apnea, occurs due to a narrowing or total closure of the airway.

In children, potential learning or behavioral issues can arise from compromised sleep, which can result in aggression, depression, impulsivity, hyperactivity and anxiety, among other issues. Additionally, especially with infants and toddlers whose brains are still developing, the blockage of free-moving oxygen to the brain can hinder a child’s proper brain function the following day.

This is where your dentist comes in, but not just any dentist will do the trick. Dr. Nicole Dahlkemper of Water’s Edge Dentistry in Mount Pleasant explained that “not all dentists have the advanced training required to evaluate adults and children for sleep breathing disorders.”

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Thankfully, however, Water’s Edge can both detect and solve this problem.

“Evaluating both children and adults for sleep breathing disorders is extremely important for optimal health. Snoring may just be an annoying sound for a partner or it could be something much more dangerous. How are we to know if we don’t get evaluated and tested? I am passionate about prevention in both dentistry and medicine; we lost a friend in his early 40s from complications of a sleep breathing disorder, so I want to do what we can to help prevent others from the same fate,” Dr. Dahlkemper explained.

With two innovative options for the elimination of snoring and apnea, her team can improve their patients’ breathing and help the entire family get a better night’s rest. Both the Micr02 Dental Sleep and Snore Device and the NightLase nonsurgical laser procedure are phenomenal options for those with common airway breathing issues looking to move past the typical solution of a clunky Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. While only physicians can diagnose a sleep breathing disorder, Dr. Dahlkemper can evaluate the airways, take 3D images to measure the airway and determine any risks of possible sleep breathing disorders, discuss it with your physicians and sleep-testing facility and work with medical insurance to help with patients receiving reimbursements.

Whether you’re fed up with the nightly noise or you’ve witnessed a family member exhibiting the sudden breath-catching signs of sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to find out more about the potential airway health issues that could be obstructing a sound sleep at night.

“If your child’s dentist isn’t trained in airway health, there’s a great resource, www.thehealthystart.com, that allows parents to look up available doctors in your area,” Dr. Dahlkemper said. For adult patients, www.airwayhealth.org can also help locate dental practices that specialize in this issue.

Don’t toss and turn through another sleepless night when Dr. Dahlkemper and her experienced team can help create the sound sleeping conditions your body, and ears, crave.

By Krysta Chapman
Contact Water's Edge Dentistry

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