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It's Time for a Good Night's Sleep

Treating Sleep Disordered Breathing Issues.

by Sherry Regiani

It's Time for a Good Night's Sleep -

“You snore!” she said. “No, I don’t”, he replied.
Sound familiar? You may have adjusted your bedroom lighting, turned off electronics and used many other ideas but still do not wake refreshed. Change the pronouns and the story is still the same.

Your answer may be found at a dentist office, with someone who is trained in recognizing and treating sleep disordered breathing issues.
When we sleep, our bodies should be busy replenishing itself. When the brain senses a lack of oxygen, called hypoxia, it signals the body to wake up. It might be a gasp for air, or it might be full-on wakefulness.

“Wake up! Wake up! Or you will die!”
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as many as one of 15 people have some form of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). That number is rising, causing concern for all sorts of medical complications. Like most everything else, there are shades of grey, and not everyone who has a breathing disorder has apnea.

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) affects 7 in 10 adults and children. The American College of Cardiology states, “SDB is a prevalent but under diagnosed sleep disorder, with as many as 80% of patients going undiagnosed. The body of evidence linking SDB with stroke is growing.” Daytime symptoms include headaches, fatigue, excessive daytime sleepiness, concentration and memory difficulties, irritability, depression, breathing irregularities.

Treatment begins with a thorough diagnosis.
As we age, the tissues in the back of the soft pallet can become loose and floppy. Sleeping on your back can permit these tissues to block part of your airway, causing a vibrational snore. This can be remedied with modern laser treatments that tighten the tissues of the palate.

Some people have an anatomically narrow airway to start with, which can be seen on a 3D CBCT scan. Others may have multiple episodes of disturbed sleep on any given night. This can be recorded during a Home Sleep Study or by spending the night at a Sleep Center. In either case, a licensed physician will confirm the sleep study and render a diagnosis.

Not everyone needs a C-PAP. There are a multitude of devices that can reposition your lower jaw at night to keep your airway open. Even if you have been advised to wear a C-PAP but can’t do it, there are still options available.

Don’t suffer in silence, and don’t abandon your sleep partner. Call your dentist and ask if he or she is trained in sleep disordered breathing. It’s time for a good night’s sleep.

Sherry Regiani, SHRM-CP, is with Regiani Holistic Dental Center in Clarkston, MI. For more information call 248-625-5222, visit

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