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Those z waves - the impact of poor sleep patterns and what we can do about it

It isn’t just about the teeth! As a dentist I find that more and more I have to consider the patient holistically and that is why we chose to set up Granta Health which brings together the best therapists to work with the dental team here at Granta Dental, Cambridge. Osteopathy, butyeko, massage, yoga, myofascial release; patients can benefit from all these approaches in their daily lives as well as during their treatment.  However one key aspect of health that seems to be very topical at the moment and that is sleep and the impact poor sleep has on your life.

I have recently written an article about our work with the British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine find it at here. At Granta Dental we have been receiving an increasing number of referrals for patients with symptoms of apnoea and hypopnea, some of which are linked to dental health problems and others referred to us by our GP partners. Interruptions to breathing and snoring are major symptoms of a serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and whilst not all snorers have OSA, virtually all OSA patients snore!  Statistics suggest more than 3% of women and 6% of men in the general population suffer from OSA. More than 90% of sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated. Worryingly up to 10% of children may suffer some degree of OSA which also links to other noted childhood problems of bedwetting and disturbed sleep.

The incidence of OSA is rising as the general population becomes heavier. Snoring is often considered to be ‘a bit of a joke’, but there is evidence that even simple snoring (without OSA) may be detrimental to your health. OSA is commonly linked to:

  • Hypertension and Palpitations
  • Stroke
  • Insulin Resistant Diabetes
  • Heartburn, Reflux, Dental Erosion
  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
  • Lack of Energy
  • Morning Headaches
  • Depression and Mood Changes
  • Impotence and Reduced Libido

When new dentist, Thomas O’Connor, joined the practice he was already trained with the British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine whose mission is to improve the treatment of patients with sleep breathing disorders through the involvement of dental practitioners and the use of oral appliances (variously known as mandibular repositioning devices/appliances MRDs/MRAs).  Additionally they facilitate a co-ordinated, synergistic approach with the medical community for research, treatment, education and professional development.

Hearing what Thomas had to say about his experiences with the BSDSM and the impact he had on patients I took the decision to invest in these services for our patients and we have already seen a real interest in understanding sleep patterns and the options for getting a better night’s sleep.

So here at Granta Dental, we are unique in now having three dentists trained by and registered with The British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine.  We screen and test for OSA as well as fit and adjust appliances. We carry out a thorough assessment of the teeth, gums and jaw joints prior to the provision of any appliance. As such treatment is the basis for life long therapy, you will be advised to return for regular examinations to ensure that your appliance is functioning correctly and that your teeth, gums and jaw joints remain healthy.

Here at Granta Dental we can assess your risks for snoring & OSA, scientifically monitor and measure your breathing, heart rate and oxygen levels while you sleep and record periods of sleep apnoea.  Go and take the sleep test on our website or make an appointment to come and talk to us about your concerns.

Posted on 4 July 2014
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