Northwest Arkansas Family Dental
Fayetteville, AR Dentist

Treating Sleep Apnea and How it's Linked To Your Overall Health

November 19, 2019
Posted By: Northwest Arkansas Family Dental

Dr. Kifer, Dr. Johnson, Claire, Sonia, Ashley P, and Alaina attended the AIDT’s lecture with Dr Mark Cruz on Facial and Airway Development and Their Link to Medical Co-Morbidities: The Need for Interdisciplinary Collaboration on Saturday, November 16th.

Dr. Cruz discussed how our bodies are always looking for homeostasis and compensates when needed. He stressed that we need to look at three main things when addressing a patient's airway issues; the roles of function, structure, and behavior.  Treating airway problems without treating all of the different reasons is our goal when treating your airway.

We really stressed some of the signs of pediatric sleep apnea.  Just a few of the signs and symptoms are cognitive dysfunctions, ADHD, anxiety, snoring, mouth breathing, eczema, bed wetting, and fractured sleep. Our goal is for early detection and proper intervention to treat the problem, not just the symptom. We look for the cause of the childs problems and not just the effect. Dr. Cruz went over how important the tongue is for a child’s development for their airway and oral cavity. We want to be screening children to make sure their jaw growth is on the right track and if it isn’t start early intervention.  It is hard to change an adult without surgery and we want to help kids be as healthy as they can for the rest of their lives.

Using high resolution pulse oximetry can show how a patient is sleeping during the night. HRPO is able to detect major and minor events in drops of oxygen as well as the patients heart rate through the night.  He discussed the progression of sleep disordered breathing. Snoring – Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome – Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea – and Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Snoring is a manifestation of airway constrictions and is a sign of airway issues. Our goal as clinicians is to treat snoring and  Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome before it progresses to sleep apnea.

Some clinical features that associate with upper airway resistance syndrome are; fatigue, frequent nocturnal awakenings, bruxism, hypotension, depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. In treating a patient comprehensively, we will be able to better screen patients for airway distress and improve their whole health, not just their dental needs.

We are so grateful the Academy of Interdisciplinary Dentofacial Therapy hosted this event so we were able to continue our education on dental health and links to airway with Dr. Cruz.

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