Nebraska Dental Sleep Medicine©, PC

Ronald Attanasio, DDS, MSEd, MS

(located in Morning Glory Dental)

1745 N. 86th Street

Lincoln, Nebraska 68505-3632

office/appointments: 402-489-8848

Sleep Disorders: snoring; sleep apnea.

TMJ Disorders: jaw/face pain; teeth grinding; clicking/locking of jaw; headaches.

Sleep Related Breathing Disorders: Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep related breathing disorders, specifically snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, affect many individuals.  Some individuals may be aware of these particular sleep breathing issues, but most are not aware.  Through research, there has been documentation of a significant relationship of sleep related breathing disorders and numerous health issues, including excessive fatigue during the waking hours, high blood pressure, cardiovascular risks (e.g., stroke, heart attack), diabetes, and many others.  Obviously, one's quality of life can be greatly affected.
We have two airway passages that allow for inhalation and exhalation for breathing: 1) the nasal airway, and 2) the oral airway.  The illustration to the left (copyright,ResMed, Inc) shows normal unobstructed airways.

Therefore, when we initiate sleep in the lying down position, the clear open nasal airway allows for the individual to breathe through the nose, and the clear open oral airway allows for the air to travel to and from the lungs without any interference from the tongue, tonsils, adenoids, or any other swollen or inflamed tissues that line the two airway passages.
For some individuals the tongue and/or the soft palate in the back of the roof of the mouth can have a tendency to be enlarged and/or fall towards the back of the oral airway when we lie down and initiate sleep as shown in the illustration to the left (copyright, ResMed, Inc).

If that type of interference in the airway is only a partial blockage, it often results in a snoring sound as the air vibrates against those particular mouth tissues.  Sometimes, the snoring is all that happens.  However, with other individuals, the partial blockage can also result in a lesser amount of oxygen being absorbed into the blood through the lungs, which can only be determined through different types of sleep tests.
For other individuals, the falling back of the tongue and soft palate is a complete blockage which results in cessation of airflow to the lungs as shown in the illustration to the left (copyright, ResMed, Inc).

Because airflow is completely blocked, the blood's oxygen level drops to such low levels that the brain sends a message to the heart to increase its pumping in order to try to increase the blood oxygen level, however this extra effort on the heart increases the strain on the heart muscles.  In addition, there is generally some degree of choking as the body also tries to force the airway open.  All of this disrupts the way that the body needs to sleep which can result in the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Treatment of Sleep Related Breathing Disorders