Sleep & Airway Treatment
In recent years there has been an increasing interest and understanding of how the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth contribute to one’s overall breathing and sleeping ability. When the tongue isn’t properly positioned against the roof of the mouth during development, and when an individual isn’t able to breathe through their nose comfortably during development, dental and skeletal changes result that can contribute to a lifetime of breathing and sleeping difficulties.
Dr. Pinnamaneni has a particular interest in this area after having her youngest suffer with sleep disordered breathing due to allergies and enlarged adenoids. If you’re concerned you may be suffering from difficulty sleeping, have a hard time breathing through your nose either during the day or at night, or if you’ve been told you snore, we have the ability to help screen for these issues and get you either the treatment you need in our office, or a referral to an appropriate medical professional.
Signs & Symptoms
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Some of the symptoms are vague and may seem completely unrelated, which is why it important to see a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Some signs of OSA include:
Gasping or choking for air during sleep
Severe daytime drowsiness or fatigue
Frequent urination during the night (the body’s attempt to control elevated blood pressure)
Morning headaches (from blood pressure or jaw clenching)
Nightmares or insomnia
Because symptoms are largely present during sleep and often go unnoticed, only a minority of sleep apnea sufferers have been diagnosed.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)
UARS starts as simple snoring, harmless to most people. Snoring is the vibrating sounds when air passes through the loosened tissues. It is the first sign that there is some sort of obstruction in the respiratory system. The greater the obstruction, the greater the airway resistance and louder the snoring.
It is important to note that UARS will eventually progress to OSA if left untreated. OSA carries with it a dangerous list of health risks and concerns including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Some signs of UARS include:
Fatigue during the day
Sleep that is not restful or refreshing
Awakening from sleep frequently
The oral appliance remains one of the primary treatment methods for UARS. Dr. Pinnamaneni and our friendly staff are well trained in treating sleep apnea disorders using oral devices. You’ll need to be fitted for this appliance in our office, as each appliance custom fits over your teeth.
Pediatric Sleep Disordered Breathing
Pediatric sleep disorders in which your child's breathing is partially or completely blocked repeatedly during sleep. The condition is due to narrowing or blockage of the upper airway during sleep. Infants and young children with obstructive sleep apnea don't always snore. They might just have disturbed sleep.
During sleep, signs and symptoms of pediatric sleep apnea might include:
Pauses in breathing
Snorting, coughing or choking
During the day, children with sleep apnea might:
Perform poorly in school
Have difficulty paying attention
Have learning problems
Have behavioral problems
Have poor weight gain
Children are not supposed to snore, be tired during the daytime or refrain from active playtime. It’s in their nature to sleep soundly and use up a lot of energy playing. Fortunately, it is possible to correct the physical problems that tend to be the cause of sleep apnea and similar conditions in children. There are several treatment options for sleep apnea that can be very effective, depending on the cause of SDB, but most commonly, orthodontic treatment can be used to treat sleep apnea in kids. Dr. P also works closely with ENTs and Myofunctional therapists to help treat sleep disorders in children.