Sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD) is a term used to describe disruptions of normal breathing during sleep. These disruptions can range from snoring to severe, long pauses in breathing (called apnea events) during the night.
Good quality sleep is not optional. All of us need enough sleep to thrive—and the sleep needs to be high quality and restorative. Infants and children especially need plenty of shuteye in order to stay healthy and to develop healthy bodies and brains. During primary sleep at night, a child needs to be proceeding through all the phases of each sleep cycle: 1, 2, 3, and REM.
If your sleep specialist has advised that you speak with a dentist who is board certified to practice dental sleep medicine, you probably have questions. Maybe you want to know, what is dental sleep medicine?
What are the credentials that a dentist needs to practice dental sleep medicine? What exactly does dental sleep medicine look like?
Furthermore: how can a dentist play a role in improving your sleep?
Is your child sleeping with their head tilted back, squeaking when inhaling, or gasping or making choking noises during sleep? Is she or he experiencing daytime hyperactivity or difficulty concentrating at school? Are their grades slipping? Do they seem moody or restless?
If any of these signs sound familiar, it’s possible your child has undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Pediatric sleep apnea can look different than sleep apnea in adults because children are not just “little adults.” During the developmental stages, their bodies are different than ours. Therefore, so are some of the signs and symptoms of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.
Does your child snore? Has he or she been diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing or mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea? If so, you may have heard your pediatrician or sleep expert mention a form of physical therapy called myofunctional therapy.
Oral appliances made by licensed sleep medicine dentists are now approved as a first-line therapy for treating mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your sleep specialist has likely advised that you begin continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy—the most common form of treatment for OSA and snoring.
If you snore or have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your doctor or a sleep medicine dentist may recommend that you try an oral appliance to open your airway.
For people who can’t tolerate a CPAP machine, a dental oral appliance can be a simple solution to a vexing problem affecting your sleep. Due to their ease of use, dental oral appliances are being recommended as a first-line therapy by more and more by sleep physicians. Oral appliances have many advantages, including their small size and portability.