Friday, June 11, 2010

Research Shows Benefits of Dentists Learning to Treat Sleep Apnea

United Press International (UPI) recently reported on two award-winning abstracts presented at the AADSM’s 19th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

The first study suggested that dentists are in a unique position to screen children for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). SDB includes obstructive sleep apnea, upper-airway resistance syndrome and snoring.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver found that dentists seeing patients on a regular basis may have more opportunity than a physician for screening for these disorders. Lead author Dr. Hiroko Tsuda emphasized that patients at risk for sleep disorders should go to a sleep specialist for diagnosis.

"Based on this study, family dentists may find the preliminary risks of sleep disordered breathing by using simple questionnaires," Tsuda said.

The study included 189 children. They were seven to 15 years of age.

Parents or guardians filled out two questionnaires for their child. One questionnaire, which included questions on symptoms and caregiver concerns, found two children at risk. A second questionnaire, with 22 "yes, no, or don't know" type questions, found 11 children at risk.

The second study reported on by UPI found that measuring the tongue might help dentists supply an oral appliance that successfully treats sleep apnea.

Lead author Whitney Mostafiz of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine said that oral appliances have been shown to be safe and effective sleep apnea treatments. But dentists cannot always predict which patients will have success with the treatment.

Patients who responded had a larger tongue volume for a given oral cavity size. The researchers suggest determining this ratio may help predict treatment success.

Mostafiz explained that the results indicate that oral appliances help correct anatomical imbalances.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.