Dental Sleep Medicine
Dental sleep medicine focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy and upper airway surgery.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. The muscles in your throat relax and the tongue may fall back and block the airway as you sleep, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs, including your heart and brain. People with sleep apnea may snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods of time. The breathing pauses from sleep cause your body to briefly wake while you remain unaware. This can happen hundreds of times per night, and you may wake up feeling unrefreshed.
In addition to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased sex drive and impaired concentration. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart attack and sudden death while asleep.
Sleep apnea patients are often older, obese and have thick necks, but men and women of any age or body type can have sleep apnea. The sleep disorder progressively worsens with age and weight gain.
The vast majority of sleep-related breathing cases go undiagnosed and untreated. An Institute of Medicine report found that an estimated 50-70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. Excessive daytime sleepiness alone costs the economy $150 billion in lost productivity and workplace accidents, and another $48 billion in medical expenses related to auto accidents involving drowsy driving. Nearly 1 in 5 car accidents causing serious injury are associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Dr. Weaver is a member of the American Association of Dental Sleep Medicine and is trained to diagnose and treat dental caused sleep apnea with oral appliances.