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Pennsylvania Periodontist Provides Treatment for Sleep Apnea

  • January 13, 2010

COLLEGEVILLE AND PHILADELPHIA, PA – Snoring has been the scourge of many a marriage throughout history.

But in addition to being an annoyance to spouses, snoring can be a sign of a more serious problem: sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a breathing problem caused when the tonsils, tongue or fatty tissue in the throat blocks the airway to the lungs. Approximately 18 million people have sleep apnea, according to Orbit Medical.

Pennsylvania Periodontist Dr. David DiGiallorenzo treats many sleep apnea patients by fitting them with a device called Silent Nite, which is manufactured by Glidewell Laboratories.

Silent Nite is a custom-made device that is thin, flexible and comfortable when worn. It is made by taking impressions of the patient’s teeth and sending the impressions off to Glidewell Laboratories, where the device is manufactured. The Silent Nite usually is made within two weeks and sent back to DiGiallorenzo’s office, he said. The patient comes in for a second appointment, where the device is fitted. Silent Nite resembles clear plastic retainers that are worn on the upper and lower teeth and aid in diminishing snoring.

“It works by keeping the lower jaw in a protruded position,” said DiGiallorenzo, who, in addition to treating patients with sleep apnea, also is a Pennsylvania dental implants expert.

When worn, the patient still can open and close his/her mouth freely.

Signs of Sleep Apnea
Most sleep apnea sufferers don’t even know they have it because the symptoms occur while the person is sleeping, DiGiallorenzo,  said. However, there are some telltale signs that a spouse typically can detect. They include:

• Gasping and/choking during sleep
•  Sudden awakenings
•  Frequent silences during sleep
•  Loud snoring

Snoring alone does not necessarily mean a person has sleep apnea, he said. However, most people who suffer from sleep apnea also are loud snorers. The snoring is a result of an airway obstruction, according to Helpguide.org.

Patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea typically experience throat collapse as they sleep, which blocks the airway and prevents the person from breathing. The collapse prevents the brain from getting the necessary oxygen and can lead to more serious health problems over time, including:

•  Heart disease
•  High blood pressure
•  Sexual dysfunction
•  Learning/memory problems
•  Depression
•   Stroke
•   Hypertension
•   Fibromyalgia
•  Gastric reflux

A second type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea. This is the result of a central nervous system disorder caused by a brainstem injury, such as a viral brain infection, stroke, chronic respiratory disease or brain tumor, according to Helpguide. It also can be caused by disease.

Sleep apnea sufferers may wake up anywhere from five to 10 times per hour, and while they may not be aware they are doing so, their bodies still suffer from the effects, DiGiallorenzo, Pennsylvania Periodontics specialist said.

“A good night’s sleep is important for overall health,” he said. “When you’re waking up multiple times every hour during sleep, you’re robbing your body of the beneficial REM sleep needed to rejuvenate the body and feel truly rested.”

Risk Factors and Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

•  Although half of people diagnosed with OSA are not overweight, obesity is considered a risk factor for the condition.
•  Nasal blockage or congestion caused by sinusitis, smoking, allergies or the common cold.
•  Tongue and throat muscles that relax more than normal while sleeping. This can be caused by sedatives, alcohol or age.
•  Large adenoids or tonsils.
•  Certain physical attributes, such as the shape of the neck and head, enlarged tongue, receding chin or deviated septum.

Learn More
If you would like to learn more about the Silent Nite system from the Pennsylvania periodontists at Dr. David DiGiallorenzo’s office, you would like more information on periodontal disease or dental implants, or you wish to schedule a consultation, please call 610-228-4366 in Collegeville; 570-505-6908 in Williamsport; or visit his Web site:  http://www.perioimplants.us/.

About Dr. David Digiallorenzo
Dr. David Digiallorenzo, or “Dr. D,”, Philadelphia Dental Implants expert graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1993 and completed a specialty in periodontics and dental implantology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995.

He is a past associate clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Periodontics. He teaches nationally and internationally and is a regular contributor to dental literature.

Dr. D’s private practice in suburban Philadelphia concentrates on periodontics, dental implantology, advanced reconstructive case management and TMJ treatment. It is a unique dental spa with two full-time massage therapists that specialize in reflexology, reiki, massage, aromatherapy and homeopathy. This combination creates a relaxed, optimal healing response.
Dr. D has two office locations: 184 W. Main St., Ste. 200, in Collegeville, PA; and 121 E. Fourth St. in Williamsport, PA.

© 2010 Sinai Marketing and Dr. David Digiallorenzo.