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By Eric V. Thomas, DMD

If you ask someone if they snore or have sleep apnea, he or she will probably tell you to ask their spouse or partner. Despite the person is living with it, it’s just not that obvious.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which relaxed tissue in the throat periodically blocks the upper airway during sleep; as a result, the sufferer stops breathing for seconds or minutes at a time. This generally occurs until the brain’s alarm centers rouse the individual enough to tighten the throat muscles once more. This can happen over and over again, even hundreds of times per night. However, the moments are so minor that they are completely unnoticed by the individual.

It is a silent killer, a hidden predator.

You might be thinking, “a killer”? A little melodramatic, perhaps?

However, newer studies indicate that OSA, and sleep disturbance in particular, are related to a slew of medical conditions. Growing evidence suggests that adequate and restful sleep is central to the health of both mind and body, regulating processes ranging from memory to metabolism. Many processes occur during restful sleep, your body’s time to repair itself. Lack of proper regenerating sleep can result in inflammation, a weakened immune system, hypertension, headaches, obesity, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, and bedwetting.

Studies suggest that OSA in children can be directly linked to attention disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and bedwetting.

Imagine the number of unfortunate children out there suffering with the embarrassment of bedwetting while having a sleepover with friends or having continuous classroom reprimands, their parents frustrated to no end, all because of undiagnosed OSA.

Millions of Americans have a serious sleep disorder, as many as one in four, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and other physiological problems that may go undiagnosed.

All of that set aside, there are new dental-related technologies that are doing groundbreaking work and changing lives in the process. New appliances are able to actually correct the maxillofacial profile and correct airway constriction all in one fell swoop.

Depending on the age and severity of the case, each patient is fitted with a custom mouth device that is worn temporarily (not forever and ever) and results in a change that is permanent!

At Sunshine Dentistry, we can work in conjunction with your physician to treat and improve your breathing wellness, to ensure you get a full eight hours each night. For more information, call (609) 536-9000 or visit

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