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Restore your health and vitality with sleep apnea treatment in Greenville, SC

Sleep Apnea
Tossing, turning, and snoring night after night not only causes you to be too tired to enjoy your daily activities, but also negatively impacts your overall health. These symptoms may indicate that you have a sleep disorder called sleep apnea, which prohibits you from getting good quality sleep and can cause major long-term health consequences and even early death. Fortunately, while treatment for this condition used to be uncomfortable and invasive, there are effective, comfortable dental treatments available for sleep apnea. Dr. John Palmer at Palmer Distinctive Dentistry in Greenville, SC can provide dental treatment for sleep apnea to help you stop snoring and finally get the good night’s sleep you need.

Types of sleep apnea

There are several types of sleep apnea and each have different causes. The most common types of sleep apnea are:
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: In this type of sleep apnea, your throat muscles, mouth tissues, or tongue obstruct your breathing while you are sleeping, causing your airway to become blocked and insufficient oxygen to reach your brain and organs
  • Central sleep apnea: This type of sleep apnea occurs because your brain can’t send the correct signals to your breathing muscles while you sleep
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome, or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea: This type of sleep apnea occurs when someone has a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea
Sleep apnea reduces the amount of oxygen your body and brain receive while you are sleeping and the long-term health impacts from this can be devastating. In addition to not feeling your best, sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular disease, strokes, depression, diabetes, and increased risk of major accidents such as falls and car crashes, among other issues.

Sleep apnea symptoms

The different types of sleep apnea have similar symptoms. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and refer you for sleep testing at home to determine whether you have sleep apnea and, if so, what type you have.

Common signs that you may have sleep apnea include:
  • Awakening frequently at night or inability to stay asleep
  • Snoring, jerking your body, or gasping for air while you are sleeping
  • Excessive sleepiness or inability to focus during the day
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Mood changes such as depression or irritability

Airway and TMJ

Airway and TMJ

The normal way to breathe is through your nose. As we grow and develop, certain things such as pollen, cow milk, and other variables can cause an allergic reaction, causing the lymphoid tissues known as tonsils and adenoids to become swollen.
The normal way to breathe is through your nose. As we grow and develop, certain things such as pollen, cow milk, and other variables can cause an allergic reaction, causing the lymphoid tissues known as tonsils and adenoids to become swollen. As the tonsils and adenoids become swollen, they develop into an obstruction for nasal breathing and slowly, mouth breathing begins to be the primary intake of air into the body. In order to breathe through the mouth, the lower jaw comes down, the tongue comes off the palate and settles on the lower teeth. Nasal breathing is the correct way for air to enter the body, and during nasal breathing, the tongue rests at the palate and the pressure of the cheeks is balanced by the tongue.

During mouth breathing, the pressure from the cheeks is unopposed by the tongue. The oral system becomes unbalanced and results in the deformation of the upper jaw, creating a v-shaped arch as opposed to a correct u-shaped arch. This also produces an incorrect swallowing function. Upon swallowing, the tongue rests on the lateral teeth, hindering normal tooth eruption, causing a lateral tongue thrust. A constantly open mouth causes the incisors to over-erupt. The result is the deformation of the lower arch known as the bicuspid drop-off. The result of this deformation of the upper and lower arches is the presence of premature contact upon closing which shifts the lower jaw distally off of the physiologic trajectory. The narrowing of the upper arch pushes the lower jaw back - this forces the TMJ condyle to shift distally while the TMJ disc shifts forward. Upon opening, the disc can shift onto the condyle to restore the TMJ's correct position and then shift back to an incorrect forward position upon closing. This is what causes a reciprocal click. In addition, the muscles could be in a state of hypertonus or spasm which can result in tension headaches. An incorrect position of the lower jaw can result in pair functional activity of the muscles, such as clenching and grinding. Over time, grinding can result in severely worn down teeth. As a result, the teeth become even shorter, the lower jaw shifts distally even further and the vertical of the bite decreases. In time, joint degeneration occurs. The joint becomes deformed, and the ligaments of the joint become damaged. As a result, the TMJ disc can get trapped in front of the condyle. While the click may go away, limited mouth opening will occur. A distally shifted jaw and tongue position results in even further restrictions of the airway. In order to open up the airway, the neck moves forward and the head tilts backward. This stresses the spine and fatigues the neck muscles which results in neck, back, and shoulder pain.

Causes of sleep apnea

The cause of sleep apnea varies, depending on the type of sleep apnea you have. In central sleep apnea, your brain does not signal your breathing muscles properly to alert your body to breathe, so your blood oxygen levels drop due to not taking a breath. In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles and tissues in your mouth and throat relax and narrow or close your throat, which blocks the passage of air to the lungs. When your brain senses that you aren’t receiving enough oxygen, it signals a burst of adrenaline, which may wake you up temporarily or cause you to gasp, choke, or snort. This cycle repeats many times per hour all night long.

Sleep apnea treatment

Historically, the most common form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea was a CPAP machine, which helps keep the airway open while you sleep. However, CPAP machines are loud, bulky, and involve an invasive, uncomfortable face mask while you sleep, which causes many people to abandon using them.

Effective dental treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are now available that don’t involve cumbersome face masks or noisy machines. Instead, your dentist custom-designs a dental appliance that fits comfortably in your mouth. You only wear it while you sleep, and it keeps your mouth in an optimal position to prevent your airway from becoming blocked.

At Palmer Distinctive Dentistry in Greenville, SC, Dr. John Palmer provides you with more than snoring solutions. Treating your sleep apnea can help restore your feeling of well-being by bringing more energy and health to your days and restful sleep to your nights. Your bed partner will also appreciate the quiet, more restful slumber. Whether you are a new or existing guest, call Dr. Palmer at (864) 879-6494 today to start getting a good night’s sleep.

Palmer Distinctive Dentistry

Palmer Distinctive Dentistry best dental office near Greenville, SC
John J. Palmer, DMD
Dr. Debra G. Adams, DMD Image
Debra G. Adams, DMD
Dr. Ashley Hurley, DMD Image
Ashley Hurley, DMD

At Palmer Distinctive Dentistry, we believe that oral health and overall wellness are linked. This is our focus when attending to our guests’ dental needs. Giving beautiful, healthy smiles to the residents of Greenville, SC is our goal.

Heading our team is Founder Dr. John J. Palmer, a Medical University of South Carolina School of Dentistry graduate. A dedicated holistic dentist and pioneer in advanced dentistry, he incorporates the latest technologies and IAOMT-certified methods and stays abreast of modern developments in biological dentistry.

Dr. Debra G. Adams received her Bachelor of Science from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL, and worked as a dental assistant, before graduating from dental school at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Dr Adams is SMART certified through the IAOMT and is dedicated to giving our guests the best treatment possible.

Dr. Ashley Hurley has been in private practice since 2020 and is thrilled to join our Palmer Distinctive Dentistry holistic dental office as a Dental Associate! Dr. Hurley earned her undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University (2012-2015), a certificate from the LECOM post-baccalaureate program, and her Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Roseman University College of Dental Medicine in 2020. Dr. Hurley has worked on multiple scientific projects. She has also volunteered in various ways for communal service over the years. She is excited to positively affect the Upstate community by serving you while assuring your trust is always in good hands.