Tag Archives: snoring

Can a Dentist Really Stop Sleepiness?

I feel a little foolish contacting a dentist about this, but I’m absolutely desperate. I am exhausted all the time. I’m getting plenty of sleep so that is not the problem. Yet, when I wake up I feel like I’ve hardly slept a wink. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m being kidnapped by interdimensional aliens at night, like that Star Trek Next Generation episode. My friend at church told me that she was having the same thing and her dentist gave her something to put in her mouth while she slept. Ever since then, she’s been well rested when she wakes up in the morning. Can a dentist do that for me too?

Sleepy Sarah

Dear Sleepy Sarah,

Child sleeping mouth open
Sleep Apnea can Cause Excessive Sleepiness

I’m sorry you’re feeling so exhausted. That’s a horrible way to exist because you so often feel like you’re having to drag yourself through life just to barely keep up. It’s a chore just to put one foot in front of the other. Being sleepy has a negative impact on just about every part of your life— family, work, even your health.

Fortunately, there’s no reason to feel foolish in asking a dentist for help with this. There is a good possibility you’re suffering from sleep apnea. A dentist is the perfect person to go to for treatment.

Sleep Apnea and Exhaustion

With sleep apnea, the muscles in the back of your throat close up, cutting off your oxygen. This stops you from breathing momentarily. Your body, recognizing this, startles you awake just enough to get you breathing again. This can happen over and over throughout the night. No wonder you’re tired when you wake up!

You’ll likely need a sleep study to see if this is what’s going on with you. Often you can get your doctor to write you a prescription for the study so it doesn’t cost you very much. If it turns out you do have sleep apnea, your friend is right. A simple orthotic device from your dentist may be all you need to get you back to a full night’s rest.

Dr. Bader is a big believer in starting with the least invasive treatment first. This device is like wearing a custom-fitted sport’s mouth guard. But, it’s designed to gently move your jaw into a position which keeps the muscles in the back of your throat from obstructing your airway. This gives you all the oxygen your body needs along with a full night’s rest.

This blog is brought to you by Boston Holistic Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.

I’m Tired All the Time – Help

I’m tired all the time, even during the day, even during a good night’s sleep. I’ve been to doctor after doctor. They say I’m fine. I’m not. I can barely stay awake some days. I know you’re a dentist, not a medical doctor, but I’m hoping you have an idea outside of the box. I feel like all the doctors are doing is checking off boxes. I feel stupid asking, but I’m desperate.

Julia

Dear Julia,

I’m sorry you’re facing this and feeling not listened to during a difficult time. The first thing I’ll ask is if your doctor checked your thyroid levels and if he did it using free T3 and free T4 readings? If he hasn’t, start there. If he already has, then I have a strong suspicion you have sleep apnea.

You can learn more about this condition on our “Sleep Apnea Page”.

Three illustations: Mild sleep apnea Ileft), Obstructive sleep apnea (center), Repaired sleep apnea (right)

If you look at the three images above, it will give you a good understanding of what could be going on with you. The first image (on the left) shows a mild blockage of your breathing passage. This generally causes snoring. I don’t know if you’re a snorer or not, but that is often one of the first signs of someone struggling with sleep apnea. The center image shows a bigger blockage. This is known as severe sleep apnea.

What’s happening is your breathing passage is being blocked, cutting off your oxygen. Your body subconsciously recognizes this is happening and startles you awake so your passage will open again. This can happen hundreds of times a night. You won’t even realize it’s happening.

If that’s what going on, no wonder you’re exhausted!

Do You have Sleep Apnea?

The first thing you’ll want to do is have a sleep study done. This is usually covered by insurance with a prescription from your doctor. Most are willing to write one without any fuss.

With a sleep study, you’ll be monitored for an evening and they’ll observe your sleep patterns. If you have sleep apnea, they’ll be able to tell you.

From there, it’s just a trip to your dentist where he can custom design an orthotic device to move your jaw into its appropriate place to keep your breathing passage clear while you sleep. Because it’s custom fit for your bite, it will be perfectly comfortable.

Don’t try to do this with a cheap over-the-counter orthotic. It can do serious damage to your bite, leading to TMJ Disorder.

I hope this helps you get the relief you need. This blog is brought to you by Newton Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.

Why Send Me to a Dentist for Being Tired?

I’m a little frustrated. I’ve been telling my doctor I’m tired all the time for months. He did some blood work where everything turned out fine. Now he’s not taking me seriously. I persisted, but he said to see a dentist about my sleep habits. What would a dentist have to do with that?

Miriam

Dear Miriam,

man snoring keeping wife awake
One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring

I would be willing to bet that your doctor wants you to get a sleep study done, though usually that is done through a prescription from your doctor. Your dentist can get you a sleep study too. It mostly depends on what your insurance requires.

The study can help reveal if you have sleep apnea. As the picture above states, snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea. So is being tired. That’s especially true if you wake up tired after a full nights sleep.

How Can a Dentist Help Sleep Apnea?

If sleep apnea is the cause of your exhaustion, your dentist can custom design an orthotic which will position your jaw in a proper position so that your body receives the proper amount of oxygen while you sleep. This will allow you to wake refreshed, probably for the first time in a long time.

You’ll want to get your bite evaluated as well. Some recent research has found a link between TMJ Disorder and sleep apnea.

I haven’t examined you, so there is no way I can begin to tell you if either is an issue for you, but those would be some reasons to see your dentist.

I know it’s frustrating when your caregivers can’t seem to figure out what is going wrong with your body. Some medical practitioners go into medicine thinking we know most things and can fix people. When they bump up against something that doesn’t fit with what they know, they get frustrated as well. Some react to that by making the patient feel like it is in their head.

It might help you to see a holistic dentist. They’re a little better at working with people who’ve had trouble diagnosing what’s going on with them. That’s more because they consider the whole body’s health and not just your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Can You Save My Marriage?

I’ve been married for a few weeks and haven’t slept since. My husband snores like you would not believe. I’m becoming grumpy. We had our first fight and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have happened if I weren’t so sleep deprived. My sister said her husband used to snore and her dentist stopped it. I’m not sure how a dentist can fix that, but I’m willing to try anything.

LeeAnne S. – Colorado

LeeAnne,

First, I’ll say congratulations on your marriage! Don’t worry about the fight. All couples fight.  The important thing is to keep remembering why you love one another.

If your husband is snoring, it’s possible the cause is sleep apnea.  It has to do with the muscles relaxing at the back of his throat. A dentist who treats sleep apnea can custom fit an oral device that will gently reposition his bite so the passageway is cleared, stopping the snoring.

On top of you getting some sleep, your husband will start feeling more energetic as well.  He won’t even realize it, but sleep apnea will interrupt his breathing and sleeping pattern over and over throughout the night.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Got Kicked Out of My Hotel Room for Snoring

I was on a trip with a bunch of girls from my dance team. Apparently, I snore…a lot. It was so bad, they kicked me out of the hotel room we were sharing. I had to sleep in the hall. I didn’t realize my snoring was so bad. What can I do?

Monica R. – TN

Monica,

If your snoring is that bad, you likely have what’s called sleep apnea. If you click on the link, it will take you to my website where I explain it more in depth.

What I’ll tell you here, is there is usually an easy solution. A dentist can custom fit an orthotic device that will tip your jaw forward just a tiny bit. It’s about the size of a sport’s mouthguard and very comfortable.

Repositioning your jaw keeps the muscles in the back of your throat from shifting into your breathing passage, causing snoring, and in the worst cases, moments where you stop breathing.

As an added benefit, you’ll find that you’re much more rested when you wake in the mornings.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

 

Why do I snore?

I went to an overnight party and my friends all said I snored. It was really embarassing. Why do I snore? Can I stop it?

Mandy – Denver

Mandy,

I’m sorry your felt embarassed. You should know a lot of people snore, so you are definitely not alone.

You can also know that snoring is generally a sign you have sleep apnea. That’s when the muscles in the back of your throat relax, which causes vibration. That vibration is the sound of your snoring.

If your mom takes you to the dentist. He or she can give you a mandibular device. That’s just a fancy word for a mouthpiece you can wear while you sleep. It will keep you from snoring.

This blog is brought to you by Newton, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Steve Bader.