There are the obvious consequences of sleep deprivation, such as fatigue and unclear thinking. And there are the less obvious ones, like obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression. Either way—or something in between—your dentist can keep you from falling asleep on the job of getting quality sleep.
Sleep disorder terminology
Sleep problems impacting the continuity of sleep are called sleep disruptions. The most common problems include:
- Insomnia—difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night
- Narcolepsy—extreme sleepiness and falling asleep suddenly during the day
- Restless legs syndrome—a sleep movement disorder where you have an urge to move your legs while trying to fall asleep
- Sleep apnea—abnormal patterns in breathing while you are asleep
Sleep disorder consequences
Each of these conditions can be caused by a number of things. But first, here are a few things a recent study published in the Nature of Science and Sleep said about the consequences of sleep disruptions:
- Sleep disruption is associated with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system (like sweating, heart rate, etc.)
- Sleep disruption is associated with changes in metabolism and mood
- Sleep disruption is associated with inflammatory responses
- In otherwise healthy adults, short-term consequences of sleep disruption include increased stress, body pain, and mood disorders
- In otherwise healthy adults, short-term consequences of sleep disruption include decreased quality of life, and cognitive performance
- For adolescents, psychosocial health, school performance, and risk-taking behaviors are impacted by sleep disruption.
- For children, behavioral problems and cognitive functioning are associated with sleep disruption
The same study said long-term consequences of sleep disruption in otherwise healthy individuals include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is a condition where a person has a high level of lipids—like cholesterol and triglycerides—in their blood. It increases the chance of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart attacks, stroke, or other circulatory concerns.
Severe consequences from sleep disruptions
A study in a recent issue of the journal Sleep showed that people with severe sleep apnea have a much higher risk of dying than people without sleep apnea. Even more concerning is that this risk increases when sleep apnea goes untreated. Specifically, results showed that people who have severe sleep apnea have three times the risk of dying due to any cause compared with people who do not have sleep apnea.
Over an 18-year period, about 19% of participants with severe sleep apnea died (12 deaths), compared with about 4% of participants with no sleep apnea (46 deaths).
How your dentist can help
The ADA (American Dental Association) suggests the following tips for those with special sleep disorder needs who need a dentist:
- Inform the dentist about your special health conditions (or concerns, if you don’t know the particular condition you may have).
- Ask if the dentist has training and/or experience in treating patients with your specific condition.
- Ask if the dentist has an interest in treating patients with your specific condition.
At Dentalux, we can assess what may be causing your sleep disruptions during a dental examination and a conversation with you. And in the case of sleep apnea, we can test and diagnose the cause of it, too. That’s when we use the Vivos DNA and mRNA system for treating sleep apnea. Actually, not just treating it, but curing it.
The DNA System
The root cause of sleep apnea is underdeveloped mouth, jaw and throat structures that obstruct your airway. While you sleep, Vivos’ DNA system opens your airway by repositioning those structures. It’s similar to the way braces, over time, reposition your teeth. However, the DNA system intermittently transmits light vibrational forces to your teeth. This stimulates growth in your body and stem cells to gently expand the structures of your mouth, for instance moving your lower jaw forward into a position that does not cause obstruction and snoring.
The mRNA Appliance
The Vivos Mandibular Repositioning Nighttime Appliance (mRNA) focuses on your lower jaw. Specifically, it shifts your lower jaw forward by lifting any extra tissue around and obstructing your airway. Most patients are eventually able to sleep through the night without the mRNA appliance.
A reminder about sleep apnea
If you don’t have a disgruntled sleep partner, or you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, here are some tale-tell sign you could have sleep apnea:
- You wake up during the night with a dry or a sore throat.
- You snore loudly.
- You wake up from time to time gasping or choking.
- You feel extremely sleepy during the day.
- You lack energy in general.
- You suffer from headaches.
- You feel tired and irritable.
If you’ve been experiencing any of these, it’s time you check in at Dentalux.