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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 109-113

Dental sleep medicine: Widening dental horizons

Graded Specialist Orthodontics NIDS, INHS Asvini Campus, Colaba, Mumbai - 400 005, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-3605.203301

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Sleep-Disordered breathing (SDB) describes a group of disorders characterized by abnormalities of respiratory pattern or the quantity of ventilation during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common such disorder, is characterized by the repetitive collapse or partial collapse of the pharyngeal airway during sleep and the need to arouse, to resume ventilation. It has been estimated that roughly 1 of every 5 adults has at least mild OSA and that 1 of every 15 adults has at least moderate OSA. Sleep medicine is in a developmental stage in India and the problem of sleep disordered breathing is grossly under-recognised. The present time is very exciting for dentistry regarding its contribution and participation in the field of sleep medicine. Dentistry, in general and Orthodontics, in particular, has gained room in sleep medicine in the last few years which can be attributed to the work conducted by specialists in multidisciplinary teams who are directly or indirectly associated with teams that work with sleep medicine. Dentist practitioners can play an important role in preventing SDB and reducing the consequences of untreated SDB by examines patients for less familiar risk factors such as a small maxilla, a high palatal arch, rhinorrhea and mouth breathing. Oral appliances have been recommended for use in patients with primary snoring and mild to moderate OSA. The aim of all oral devices is to improve the patency of the upper airway during sleep by increasing its dimensions and reducing its collapsibility. Clinical Implications: The trained dental professional has the opportunity to assist patients with SDB at a variety of levels, starting with the recognition of a sleep-related disorder, referring them to a physician for evaluation and in assisting the management of sleep disorders.

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