Treating Sleep Apnea Physiologically and Anatomically
I recently attended the 2015 International Association of Physiologic Aesthetics (IAPA) Conference where I had the chance to learn more about various ways to enhance the level of care I’m able to provide patients at my practice. Of the many topics discussed throughout the symposium, one that particularly piqued my interest was the physiological and anatomical treatment of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Though I already employ physiological and anatomical principles in all aspects of dentistry, expanding my knowledge about this unique and inclusive approach to sleep apnea treatment was quite beneficial.
As opposed to solely focusing on dentistry, I look at the whole body and how every muscle, every bone, every structure affects the overall health of the individual. When any part of the body is misaligned, the goal of treatment is to restore balance in order to create a solid anatomical and physiological foundation. In regard to sleep disorders, the issue often stems from bad posture, as well as a misaligned bite and/or jaw. Whether they realize it or not, many people have poor posture, which can cause muscles of the head and neck to become misaligned over time. As one of their many functions, these muscles all work together to keep our body’s main airway open, and when they’re not properly aligned, they can become constricted and fatigued. As a result, our airway may constrict (or even collapse), depriving the body of oxygen. This can eventually lead to symptoms of sleep apnea, which has a major impact on the entire body.
When treating sleep apnea, I strive to correct any physiological and/or anatomical issues that play a significant role in the sleep disorder. For patients at my practice, I assess each individual’s breathing, posture, musculature, and bone structure in order to help realign and restore balance to the body. If necessary, I will also prescribe a customized oral medical appliance designed to hold the jaw in proper position as they sleep. This innovative appliance works to prevent soft muscle tissues from constricting and collapsing to block airflow, effectively helping to eliminate snoring and sleep apnea. The end result is not only improved breathing and eliminated sleep apnea, but an enhanced level of overall health and wellness from a physiological and anatomical perspective.
Ultimately, the principles my team and I take into consideration to treat every individual as a whole enables us to improve the oral and physiological health of our patients, as well as their overall quality of life, which is exactly what we endeavor to do here at the Center for Innovative Dentistry and Facial Aesthetics.
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