For the mildest forms of apnea (or even milder, upper airway resistance syndrome), treatment may be as simple as adjusting sleeping positions. For severe cases of apnea, patients may require CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy, which can physically help “push” air throughout the night. For some patients, surgery may even be indicated. However, for mild to moderate sleep apneas, patients may benefit from oral appliances. Mandibular repositioning devices can help support the jaw in a “forward” position to prevent the airway from collapsing. These must be monitored closely by a dentist to ensure no damage is being done to the teeth or jaw joints (TMJ).
Sleep is essential to a healthy, happy life. By shutting down our minds and resting our bodies, we can re-allocate energy resources to healing and repair. Sleep also plays a critical role in hormonal balance, which can directly or indirectly affect just about every bodily function. Sleep deficiency can increase the risk for obesity, heart and kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. For children and teens, sleep is essential to proper growth and development. A good night’s sleep improves learning and cognitive ability. On the flip side, a lack of sleep can lead to anger, depression, stress and other negative side effects.