Drs. Jack Griffin and Eric Klumb explain common symptoms associated with sleep apnea and treatment options to reduce its life-threatening health risks.
Eureka, MO — More than 18 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing in their sleep due to blocked air passageways. It can also be responsible for excessive snoring. Drs. Jack Griffin and Eric Klumb of Eureka Smiles say sleep apnea and snoring typically occur because muscles and tissues in oral and nasal passages become too relaxed, leading to narrowed air passages. The condition can lead to severe health issues – and even sudden death – because of lack of oxygen to the brain. The dentists believe it is important to raise awareness about the risks and symptoms of sleep apnea, as well as the advanced treatment options that are available for the condition.
Drs. Griffin and Klumb say snoring, gasping for air during sleep, and teeth grinding are common symptoms of the disorder. Sleep apnea can cause some individuals to stop breathing altogether for periods of 10 to 90 seconds or longer, and momentarily wake up at various times of the night. When left untreated, the doctors say, sleep apnea can heighten the risk of developing a variety of serious health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, insomnia, memory loss, and diabetes. It can also be responsible for sudden cardiac death during sleep.
The dentists say there are three common treatments for sleep apnea. One of the most frequently prescribed is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (or CPAP) device, which uses a machine with pressurized air connected to a facial mask to open a patient’s airways while sleeping. Oral surgery on the patient’s soft palate, tongue or other areas could be recommended if previous treatment options are unsuccessful, advises Dr. Griffin. While those treatment options can often be very effective, the Eureka dentists say customized oral appliances offer an advanced alternative to patients. Many patients are candidates for this type of sleep apnea treatment, Drs. Griffin and Klumb say, and oral appliances typically allow for a more comfortable and convenient way to open up breathing passages for a healthier, more peaceful night’s sleep.
Both Dr. Griffin and Dr. Klumb stress the importance of patients, or their loved ones, recognizing the symptoms of sleep apnea as soon as possible and consulting a professional for an evaluation. Once a diagnosis of sleep apnea has been made, the dentists say, a custom-designed treatment plan can be created for patients to reduce the risks brought on by this serious condition.
About Jack Griffin, D.M.D.
Dr. Jack Griffin graduated from the Southern Illinois University dental school and completed his residency in general dentistry at the University of Louisville. His practice, Eureka Smiles, has offered general, cosmetic, and restorative dental solutions to the St. Louis community since 1988. He has achieved Mastership status in the Academy of General Dentistry and Diplomat status with the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry. Dr. Griffin is also a member of the American Society for Dental Aesthetics, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the American Dental Association. He is available for interview upon request.
About Eric R. Klumb, DDS
Dr. Eric Klumb is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. He is a member of a number of professional dental organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry, the Greater St. Louis Dental Society, the American Dental Association, and the Missouri Dental Association. Dr. Klumb is a strong advocate for continuing dental education among even the most experienced dentists, and he is currently working on obtaining a Fellowship for the Academy of General Dentistry. He is available for interview upon request.
18 Hilltop Village Center Dr.
Eureka, MO 63025