Use DNA to Improve Snoring


shutterstock_346374167_720Did you know that 27.4% of Alaskans are sleep deprived?

As we discussed the connection between Sleep Apnea and TMD we touched on some ways that we could help you with snoring and sleep apnea problems. The newest tool in our arsenal is a DNA Appliance System. As one of only two certified providers in Alaska, we are proud to begin introducing this system to our state and helping nearly a third of our state to rest better.

So what is the DNA Appliance System?dna logo

Though your genes can be a factor in whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, in this instance we aren’t talking about Deoxyribonucleic acid or Ribonucleic acid. The Daytime-Nighttime Appliance (DNA) is a patented, FDA registered device that aims to correct the underlying issue instead of simply masking it. In combination with the mandibular Repositioning-Nighttime Appliance (mRNA) this system allows us to gently and non-surgically correct many of the issues that cause TMD, Sleep Apnea, snoring, and headaches.

The other method that we like to use to manage snoring and sleep apnea is a Mandibular Advancement Device. This simple protrudes your lower jaw in an effort to keep your airway from collapsing as you sleep. This device still has a firm place in our treatment line-up, but it does have some drawbacks. The biggest one being that it has to be worn over a lifetime.

A longer term solution is to use non-surgical airway remodeling of the upper airway so that the underlying issues can be fully resolved.

The DNA is worn during the evening and at night. It gently increases the size of your upper jaw over time. Which, in turn, increases the volume of the nasal airway. More volume means more air, less constriction, and more sleep.

The mRNA is worn at night. It corrects the position of your teeth and places them in a more natural position. It also increases the redevelops the upper airway. This combined approach helps to reduce TMD symptoms, headaches, and snoring in patients of all ages.

If you’re looking for a solution to your sleep issues that doesn’t involve surgery, drugs, pain, or injections, contact us today! We’d be happy to tell you more about the new option and see if it’s right for you.

The TMD and Sleep Apnea Connection


Are you suffering from daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, morning headaches, depression, decreased libido, or impaired concentration? Is your partner suffering with a bed-mate who snores?

You might have sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.

Do you hear clicking in your jaw, struggle with painful chewing, have trouble opening or closing your jaw properly, feel tension in your temple muscles, have toothaches, or headaches?

Then you might have Temporal Mandibular Disorder.

Be wary though, TMD and SDB share many symptoms and occasionally TMD symptoms can mimic or mask those of sleep apnea. More often however, where there is one you will find the other because the two are interconnected.

Sleep apnea leads to TMD.
When people who suffer from sleep apnea grind their teeth or shift their jaw in an unconscious attempt to find a better position in which to breathe can cause the temporomandibular joint to become inflamed and exacerbate a pre-existing TMD.

TMD leads to sleep apnea.
If your teeth aren’t positioned correctly then your lower jaw can go back too far when it closes. If your jaw goes back too far this can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint. TMD can lead to headaches and jaw aches. Head and jaw aches cause your head to move forward, straining the neck. Ongoing neck strain can cause the normal curvature of your spine to degenerate which restricts normal movements like those needed to breath unobstructed. The DNA Appliance System is a new solution that we’re excited to begin implementing.

In most cases this cycle can be prevented. With a simple treatments such as Six Month Smiles or Ortho-tain, we can make sure that your teeth are properly aligned. And with a simple Mandibular Advancement Device we can prevent your airway from being blocked by your tongue and the soft tissues of your throat.

If you’re suffering with TMD, jaw pain, headaches, and interrupted sleep, contact us today to see if we can help you feel better.

Can Sleep Apnea Affect My Health?


How would you rather sleep-

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Untreated sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing repeatedly as they sleep, this can deprive the brain and body of much needed oxygen.

The two types of sleep apnea are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by the airway being blocked when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep. A popular analogy is to think of drinking a thick milkshake through a paper straw. As you suck in, the weak paper collapses and you can’t get any of the milkshake. When you’re awake your brain signals the muscles of your tongue and throat to stay strong, acting like a stronger plastic straw. But when you sleep those signals don’t always reach your muscles, especially when you sleep on your back.
  • Central sleep apnea – This type of sleep apnea is not caused by a blockage but by the brain. CSA is caused by instability of the respiratory control center causing the brain to fail to signal muscles to breath.

Who’s At Risk For Sleep Apnea?

Anyone is susceptible to sleep apnea at any age – even kids. But there are certain traits that will increase your risk.

  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Over 40 years old
  • Menopause
  • A large neck (Over 17” in men and 16” in women
  • Large tonsils or tongue
  • Small jawbone
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Nasal obstructions from a deviated septum, allergies, or other sinus issues.


How Can You Tell if You Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Anchorage Snoring – When you don’t get enough air into your lungs your blood oxygen level drops and your levels of carbon dioxide go up. With OSA your brain detects that you’re not breathing and wakes up. The amount of time that you can be affected varies from a few seconds to over a minute. Normal breathing resumes, but your airway may not be at its full size. When this happens the tissue surrounding the restricted airway vibrates causing snoring.

Silence – No snoring does not necessarily mean that someone is breathing unobstructed. Silence could indicate that they’re not breathing at all as a result of sleep apnea. If you listen or watch carefully when someone is sleeping you can see when they semi-wake up and take a deep breath.


What are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea has a large variety of effects on your health. Your body and brain are extremely sensitive to oxygen levels and when those drop it can wear on your overall health. The longer your periods of no breathing are, the higher your chances for more serious effects.

Effects due to your heart being under extra stress.

*Inflammation                                                *Diabetes

*High Blood Pressure                                    *Stroke

*Irregular heartbeat                                      *Heart attacks or heart failure

Effects due to increases in hormones and neurotransmitters.

*Increased inflammation                              *Higher stress

*Mood swings                                                 *Hypothyroidism

Because you have to wake up to end an episode of sleep apnea you will be forced to wake up over and over again during the night. This reduces the quality and quantity of sleep you get. Even if you don’t notice the periods of wakefulness your brain does.

Effects due to insufficient sleep.

*Headaches                                      *Poor performance at work

*Insomnia                                         *Academic underachievement

*Heightened ADHD                         *Motor vehicle crashes

*Daytime sleepiness                       *Fatigue

*Lowered concentration               *Reduced memory

*Depression                                      *Cognitive Deficits


How Can I Treat Sleep Apnea?

Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, there are several options available. Most require the care of a doctor or sleep specialist.

*Weight Loss – If your sleep apnea is caused by being overweight then shedding some of those pounds can reduce the pressure on the muscles around your airway.

sleep-device*Removal of the tonsils – If you have larger than normal tonsils then having them removed will open up your airway.

*CPAP – A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine provides a positive flow of air via a mask worn all that keeps your airway open and prevents it from collapsing.

*Oral Appliance – These appliances work by keeping the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open and prevents the tongue and muscles from relaxing and blocking the airway.  These simple mouth pieces are custom made for each individual and can be worn at night without restricting movement or limiting comfort. This is not suitable for all cases of sleep apnea, but it is the best, least invasive, first defense. A simple trip to your dentist is all it takes to get started.Sleep apnea process illustrator


What is Sleep Apnea?

snoring AnchorageSleep apnea is a condition where the individual ceases breathing multiple times while sleeping. One of the symptoms can be chronic snoring, but snoring can be the result of many other conditions so one should not jump to the conclusion that they are suffering with sleep apnea just because they snore.

Sleep apnea can be a very serious problem … if you suspect you may suffer with this sleeping disorder, there are several approaches to take.

  • Lose weight as carrying extra pounds can contribute to the problem.
  • Stop smoking, which is excellent advice for your overhaul good health.
  • Try a different sleeping position like moving from your back to your side.
  • Make an appointment with your dentist.

What does your dentist have to do with a sleeping disorder? Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the throat and/or tongue collapse blocking the airway. The individual usually awakens and their movement causes the airway to open. Your dentist can fabricate a mouth guard that will keep your jaw positioned in a way to prevent the blockage from occurring.

What side effects occur if the problem is not corrected? The most obvious, of course, is oxygen deprivation.  This can lead to a stroke. High blood pressure is another.

The inability to think clearly can be the result of night after night of interrupted sleep patterns. The patient might not even realize this is happening. Even though they might be waking up as much as hundreds of times each night, they may not be aware of this occurrence.

A partner may provide the first clues that sleep apnea is a possibility. Snoring, choking or gurgling sounds while asleep are indicators. Daily fatigue when you felt like you had a good night’s sleep or the need for regular naps can be a hint as well as persistent morning headaches.

If you suspect this sleep disorder is disrupting your life, a sleep study is often required to determine if sleep apnea is occurring. Following a sleep study, a consultation with your dentist for a sleeping device that will position your jaw to prevent the blockage is the next step. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended for a more permanent solution.

If you have questions about your sleep apnea concerns, contact our skilled dental team today to schedule an informative consultation.