Sleep apnea, sleep-disordered breathing, and other sleep-related concerns are a leading cause of daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and a range of symptoms that impact a person’s daily quality of life. Dr. Deckard has focused his postgraduate training and education on the diagnosis of sleep problems with the goal of helping patients address sleep disorders that affect how they feel, their ability to perform professionally and other aspects of their life to restore health and wellness.
While many patients with these symptoms and concerns are suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea, there are a growing number of patients experiencing the effects of poor quality sleep who do not have sleep apnea. For these patients, Dr. Deckard offers the benefit of his advanced training in Airway Dentistry. He has taken courses taught by Mark Cruz, a leading dental professional in the study and development of Airway Dentistry.
What Is Airway Dentistry?
Airway Dentistry is a developing field that focuses on the function of a patient’s oral structure and how it relates to breathing. One of the key elements of sleep-disordered breathing is mouth breathing.
Dr. Deckard looks for the signs of mouth breathing, including abnormal oral development concerns such as tooth wear, tongue position and the appearance of soft tissues in the back of the throat.
Identifying a sleep-disordered breathing problem early will not only resolve symptoms and improve health but reduces the risk of eventually developing sleep apnea which carries with it greater risks for heart attack and stroke.
Airway Dentistry What to Expect
Dr. Deckard may identify a patient as being at risk during a routine dental exam where he looks for the common oral signs of sleep disorders. We also take the time to discuss your lifestyle habits and/or medical conditions that could impact your oral health during consultations and routine visits. This comprehensive approach is a hallmark of the dental care provided at DC Precision Dentistry and part of our effort to help patients enjoy good oral health that also supports their overall well being.
If you are considered to be at risk for a sleep disorder or are experiencing symptoms of one, Dr. Deckard will use appropriate diagnostics and testing to evaluate your breathing patterns.
Treating Sleep-Disordered Breathing
In most cases, sleep-disordered breathing is caused by resistance in the airway caused by muscles that are relaxing and collapsing on the pharynx. While patients with what is known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) do not cease breathing as occurs in sleep apnea, this resistance disrupts normal breathing patterns. This disruption often prevents patients from entering into REM sleep, an important part of the sleep cycle that rejuvenates brain function.
Dr. Deckard works with patients to diagnose their condition, sleep and breathing patterns and provide appropriate treatment. Using a custom oral appliance, we can often restore normal breathing, better sleep and an improved quality of life.
There are also therapies and advanced treatment options to treat each patient’s unique oral health condition. Our personalized approach will be designed to meet your needs, address any oral structural abnormalities and help you breathe easier while sleeping.
No. Sleep apnea typically refers to a condition where the airway is fully restricted and breathing ceases completely at points throughout the night. Sleep-disordered breathing occurs when the airway is restricted and interrupts normal breathing patterns, without full cessation of breathing. This makes it hard for the body to take part in the needed REM sleep cycle.
There are many symptoms that coincide with both conditions. If you’re excessively tired throughout the day or wake up tired even when you got a good amount of sleep, both of these conditions can be the cause. For sleep apnea specifically, snoring and waking up gasping for air in the night can happen. You may also notice that you’re waking up with headaches in the morning or are more irritable than normal.