Dental Sleep Medicine

Your Trusted Winter Springs Dentist

A woman stratching her arms over her head, in bed, after a good nights sleep.At Dr. Robert Burks dentistry, we are proud to offer exceptional dental care for patients of all ages in and around Orlando, Oviedo, and Winter Springs. Through expert services like crowns, bridges, Invisalign, cosmetic dentistry, and more—we’ve been creating healthy, beautiful smiles since 1980. But our office doesn’t just provide top-quality treatment; we’re proud to offer a warm and inviting office atmosphere, skilled and friendly staff, and compassionate service for every patient that walks through our doors. As the preferred dentist in the Winter Springs area, we also specialize in treating sleep-related breathing disorders. Keep reading to learn about dental sleep medicine and how we can help you or your partner get a restful night’s sleep!

Experiencing Sleep Problems?

You know it instinctively: a good night's sleep is essential for good health. It makes you feel rested and ready to take on the world. Yet, unfortunately, many people don't get the quality or quantity of sleep their body requires. Sometimes this is caused by sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD)—which can be either their own or those experienced by their sleeping partners.

Cause of Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

An infographic describing the normal anatomy & function of breathing while sleeping.

SRBD is characterized by recurrent episodes of reduced or interrupted respiratory airflow. This is caused by soft tissues near the back of the throat collapsing during sleep so that they partially close off the windpipe. These tissues—the tongue, for example—can vibrate as air passes by, causing snoring. Snoring is often worsened sleeping on one's back because this position encourages the lower jaw to slip back, which in turn pushes the tongue in front of the airway.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Loud snoring often disturbs the person in the bed who isn't the one doing it, robbing him or her of vital sleep. The snorer, on the other hand, may seem to be slumbering peacefully, but this might not actually be the case. Chronic loud snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when the upper airway is blocked to the point of causing significant airflow disruption, or even no airflow whatsoever for 10 seconds or more. This condition can be dangerous, as reduced airflow into the lungs lowers blood-oxygen levels.

A person with sleep apnea may wake 50 or more times per hour—that's almost once a minute!—without having any memory of doing so. These awakenings, called micro-arousals, last just long enough to restore muscle tone to the airway so the individual can breathe. Unfortunately, all those micro-arousals preclude deep and restful sleep.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

Illustration of how the tongue may relax while sleeping, causing the airway to be blocked.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious matter as it can lead to heart problems and other health issues. Signs of OSA include:

  • Snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Poor memory/confusion
  • Prone to accidents
  • Night sweats
  • Morning headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Treating OSA

By now you're probably wondering, “What does my dentist have to do with all this?” Here's the connection: snoring or sleep apnea can sometimes be treated with an oral appliance available here at the dental office that's designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep. This repositioning of the jaw moves the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction. Backed by a great deal of scientific evidence, this treatment is a good remedy to try before moving on to more complicated breathing devices or surgery to remove excess tissues in the throat.

Call Dr. Burks Today!

Only a dentist can fabricate, fit, adjust, monitor, and treat complications associated with Oral Appliance Therapy used in managing SRBD. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, we encourage you to contact us or request an appointment to discuss Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). Even if your case requires treatment beyond OAT, we will ensure you get the help you need. We look forward to helping you get great sleep again!