When it comes to staying healthy and feeling your best, nearly everyone underestimates the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. Today, we’ll talk about why sleep is so important to our whole body health (in addition to our dental health), the causes and consequences of poor sleep, as well as a modern, non-invasive laser treatment that can help you improve your sleep quality and whole-body health.
The Importance of Good Sleep
Quality sleep is critical to our best health. Scientists have shown that poor quality sleep:
- Reduces immune system function and increase risk of obesity, as well as certain diseases and infections
- Lowers mental acuity and awareness
- Hurts job performance and interpersonal relationships
- Affects mood and increases depression
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may be one of the millions of people who are neglecting their need for quality sleep:
- Are you overweight?
- Do you suffer from any chronic illnesses?
- Are you unhappy with the amount and quality of sleep you get?
- Do you rely on caffeine or other stimulants to get through the day?
- Do you ever feel drowsy while driving or performing other everyday activities?
- Are you consistently unproductive, unhealthy, or unhappy?
What Affects Sleep Quality?
All sleep isn’t equal! Just think about the last time you slept on an airplane or in an uncomfortable hotel bed. You probably didn’t wake feeling as rested as if you had slept in your own bed at home, right?
That’s because there’s something known as sleep quality. To be your healthiest, happiest, and most productive, you need to be getting deep, high-quality sleep. Factors that can negatively affect sleep quality include:
- High levels of stress
- Excessive light or noise
- Poor diet high in caffeine, sugar, and alcohol
- Lack of exercise
- Health issues like sleep apnea
By some estimates, as many as 20 million people have been diagnosed with sleep apnea- and millions more suffer from it without even knowing it! Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing while they sleep. This may happen for only a second or two at a time, but may occur dozens or even hundreds of time every night!
Many people with sleep apnea wake up repeatedly throughout the night but don’t remember doing so. This makes sleep apnea a very difficult condition to diagnose. Unfortunately, sleep apnea is potentially very serious (even potentially deadly), especially for people with obesity, heart conditions, or other medical issues.
Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- Poor quality sleep, no matter how many hours you sleep
- Chronic drowsiness or tiredness
- Headaches and/or dry mouth when you wake up
- Heavy snoring during sleep (often enough to disrupt a partner’s sleep)
If this sounds familiar, talk to your doctor today!
Traditional Sleep Apnea “Treatments”
Unfortunately, for decades, the treatments available to those suffering from sleep apnea all had serious drawbacks and really weren’t treatments at all. Instead, they just masked the symptoms of sleep apnea but did nothing to resolve the root cause of the disorder.
A CPAP machine is worn during sleep and applies positive pressure to keep your airway open during sleep. These machines are big, uncomfortable, noisy, and a hassle to wear and use. Worst of all, there’s no alternative to wearing one. It’s not a cure for sleep apnea. It’s a burden that you must keep using for your entire life until the cause of the sleep apnea is addressed!
Sleep Apnea Surgery
Invasive surgery, involving the realignment of the jaw, has also been used as a sleep apnea treatment. Unfortunately surgery is painful, requires a long period of recovery, and potentially, not even guaranteed to work!
Mandibular Advancement Appliances
Mandibular Advancement Appliances offer a non-surgical option for treating snoring and sleep apnea. These devices force the lower jaw forward, using the upper jaw for leverage. It’s not a particularly comfortable treatment option but it may help– but not for long.
Unfortunately, while a Mandibular Advancement Appliance might provide short-term relief from sleep apnea, in the long run it can do more harm than good. Changing the alignment of your jaw may lead to TMJ pain and other unwanted consequences.
Modern Sleep Apnea Treatments
At Blodgett Dental Care, we’re always looking for better ways to help our patients. When it comes to sleep apnea therapies, we’ve found 2 modern, high-tech options that produce real results without the drawbacks of traditional treatments.
DNA or ALF Appliances
These appliances are custom-made oral appliances that can cure sleep apnea without surgery or other invasive treatments! These appliances can:
- Improve alignment of your jaws and teeth
- Reduce snoring and episodes of sleep apnea
- Improve sleep and productivity
- Reduce symptoms of TMJ disorder
Unlike a CPAP machine, the DNA/ALF Appliances don’t cover up the symptoms of sleep apnea. They gently reshape your airway and works to eliminate sleep apnea without pain, surgery, or side effects.
For the least invasive means of treating sleep apnea and excessive snoring, NightLase™ therapy is absolutely revolutionary! Using a non-invasive and gentle laser, our team can help you to tighten, contract, and strengthen the collagen in your mouth and throat.
NightLase™ therapy produces fast results that last for up to an entire year. Repeated treatments are just as effective. That means that it is possible to not have to sleep with a device in your mouth, wear a cumbersome mask, or worry about painful surgical procedures. Most cases of snoring or apnea are treated over a series of 4-6 appointments which occur once every three weeks.
You’ll likely see an immediate improvement in the quality of your sleep!
Sleep Apnea Consultation
Are you worried that sleep apnea might be affecting your quality of life? Dr. Blodgett is one of the Portland area’s most experienced holistic dentists. His unique approach to dental health and overall health and wellbeing helps his patients look and feel their very best!
When you meet with Dr. Blodgett and our team to talk about sleep apnea, you’ll discuss:
- Your risk factors for sleep apnea
- The ways poor sleep may be affecting your quality of life and your health
- The most-effective and minimally-invasive treatment options available to you
- How to create a treatment plan designed to cure your sleep apnea
Schedule your appointment today! Contact Blodgett Dental Care online or call (503) 285-3620 to request your appointment!
Dr. Blodgett completed his pre-doctoral sciences at Portland State University and graduated from the Oregon Health Science University School of Dentistry in 1999. As a modern pioneer in progressive dental care, Dr. Blodgett has become a leader in minimally-invasive dentistry, dental lasers, computerized dental technology, and holistic care. He is widely recognized for the innovative care he provides and is dedicated to helping his patients optimize their whole body health.