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Philadelphia Dentist | Philadelphia dental care | PA | Sleep Dentistry

Robert S. Gurmankin, DMD

(215) 624-4415

Sleep Dentistry
AGD Member
 

Snoring is a problem as old as sleep itself, and it has been immortalized as the butt of countless family jokes. But for some snorers, it is no laughing matter. As many as 40 percent of adults, most of them men, snore. Sleep apnea, a related disorder in which people literally stop breathing in their sleep, affects about 28 million Americans. 

During sleep, our bottom jaw and tongue falls back to the rear of the throat. Snoring happens when a person's throat muscles relax during sleep, and he or she tries to breathe through a too-small opening in the back of the throat. This causes the soft palate to vibrate and make that familiar noise. 

Some people, it's just making noise -- it may upset their spouse or the guy next door, but it has very little clinical impact. In other people, it indicates that they're dramatically working to breathe. It indicates they have sleep apnea. 

In the adult, the collapsible portion of the throat (pharynx) lies above the soft palate and uvula (that thing that hangs down in the back of your throat) and in back of the tongue. Snoring is caused when the tongue, soft palate and uvula partially obstruct the throat. Air passes through the narrowed passageway and makes a noise much like a flag flapping in the wind. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft palate, uvula and back of the tongue totally obstruct the airway so that no air can pass. 

Some symptoms of OSA are loud snoring, partial or complete cessation of breathing during sleep, reductions in blood oxygen levels, severe sleep fragmentation and excessive daytime sleepiness. Additional symptoms may include early morning headaches, impaired concentration and impotence. The disorder is more common in males, and has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes.

Sleep Apnea

If you think you may have sleep apnea, see your physician! 

Losing weight, exercising, quitting smoking, sleeping on one's side and avoiding alcohol at night can help.  Dental devices may offer the most logical way to initiate treatment in most cases of snoring and mild OSA. It works well, produces no irreversible changes and is the least expensive option. Dental devices that bring the jaw forward can eliminate snoring and help in mild to moderate sleep apnea. 


 Airway closed without appliance  Airway closed without appliance

 

Airway open with appliance  Airway open with appliance

 
 
Philadelphia Dentist. Dr. Robert Gurmankin provides Cosmetic Dentistry, Family Dentistry, Dental Implants, Dentures, Teeth Whitening, Dental Emergency, Dental Crowns to the following locations: Mayfair, Northeast Philadelphia, Holmesburg, Suburbs. Mayfair Dentist providing excellent dentistry including Cosmetic Dentistry, Family Dentistry, Dental Implants, Dentures, Teeth Whitening, Dental Emergency, Dental Crowns in Philadelphia, Mayfair, Northeast Philadelphia, Holmesburg, Suburbs, Pennsylvania. Updated in 2014.
 

 

Updated in 2016.