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Sleep Disorders-Vivos

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep Disorders & Airway Health

Hello, I’m Dr. Robert H. Thornton, DMD and I’m a Bioesthetic Dentist in Tupelo, Mississippi and specialize in Sleep Apnea Therapy and Airway Health. As a Dentist since 2000, I’ve witnessed firsthand the significant distress that a Sleep Disorder such as Sleep Apnea can create and impact patients’ daily lives. Often, patients come to me complaining of symptoms like insomnia, dry mouth, difficulty breathing, headaches, and pain and tell me how they are suffering emotionally and physically. They describe the way these issues are affecting their ability to work, concentrate, sleep, and function throughout the day and, ultimately, live a normal life. I’m here today to tell you that you don’t have to suffer and live this way any longer. There is a solution! My team and I have the skills, training, and knowledge necessary to treat complex Sleep Disorders and help you obtain lasting relief.

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Sleep Apnea Symptoms

What Is Sleep Apnea and What Are the Symptoms?

Sleep Apnea is a complicated Sleep Disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. While every patient is different, the most common symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of breathing pauses during sleep observed by another person
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue despite sufficient sleep time
  • Difficulty concentrating and morning headaches
  • Gasping or choking sensations that disrupt sleep
  • Frequent nighttime urination

The pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 5 to 30 times or more per hour. This interrupts the normal sleep cycle, preventing you from reaching the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Sleep Apnea increases the risk of developing other medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Sleep Apnea can affect anyone, but is more common in men, people who are overweight, and those over age 40. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it’s possible that you may have Sleep Apnea.

Complex & Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea occurs in various forms. The most common type is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), where the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. Central Sleep Apnea is caused by a delay in signals from the brain to breathe. Complex Sleep Apnea is a combination of both Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Treatment Expertise

My Background & Experience in Treating Sleep Disorders

As a Dentist in Tupelo with extensive training and education in Airway Dysfunction, I have treated numerous patients who suffer from debilitating Sleep Disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Over the course of my career, I have completed numerous ongoing education courses and studied at The Schuster Center Business School for Dentists, The Stewart Center for Minimally Invasive Dental Medicine (formerly The Texas Center for Occlusal Studies & Minimally Invasive Dentistry), and The OBI Foundation of Bioesthetic Dentistry – I am a Level 4 Graduate having completed all 4 levels of training at The OBI Foundation for Bioesthetic Dentistry. I also had the privilege of becoming an OBI Board of Director Officer, in October 2022, and enjoy serving with colleagues. Additionally, I have completed extensive courses with VIVOS® Therapeutics to better understand how to treat sleep and breathing disorders.

These experiences have allowed me to become well-versed in the various methods for treating Sleep Disorders including Oral Appliance Therapy, Minimally-Invasive Biologic Dentistry, and effectively providing the VIVOS® System.

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Beyond CPAP

Natural Alternatives to CPAP Treatment

It’s true that CPAP is one of the most common approaches used for treating Sleep Apnea. CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” CPAP machines work by delivering a constant flow of air pressure through a mask worn over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. This air pressure keeps your airway open so you can breathe normally. While effective, the problem with this method is that many patients simply cannot tolerate it. It’s too uncomfortable and, ultimately, no one wants to be hooked up to a machine.

That’s why, at my practice in Tupelo, MS, I use less-invasive methods like the VIVOS® System. VIVOS® oral appliance therapy is a comfortable, all-natural alternative to CPAP therapy that does not require patients to be hooked up to a machine. In my experience, it is the most humane method for treating Sleep Apnea and airway issues and the one that delivers the best results. In addition to this, I also treat patients using Night Guards and other holistic alternatives.

Expanding Treatment Options

Sleep Disordered Breathingin Children

Did you know that sleep apnea in children is actually quite common and has been linked to a number of conditions including ADD, reduced IQ, developmental issues, and can even stunt a child’s growth?

Our goal is to promote the proper growth and development of the jaw and airway to optimize airflow and promote proper nasal breathing while straightening your child’s teeth. As these areas develop many of the symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing disappear. When kids can breathe properly, they can begin to learn, grow, and blossom into their true genetic potential…just as nature intended.

A newly recognized and effective way to address and treat sleep apnea is Myofunctional Therapy — the type of therapy I offer at my dental office in Tupelo, Mississippi.

In many cases, people who have weak and improperly functioning oral muscles show signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. If you can strengthen those muscles, you can ease these symptoms. And something that Myofunctional Therapy does brilliantly is to strengthen and re-pattern muscles.

Many kids with the above health disorders are being “treated” with powerful drugs without evaluating a possible root cause. I can evaluate your child at my Tupelo, MS dental office and indicate if there is a breathing and sleeping issue.

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Comprehensive Care for Sleep Disorders in Tupelo, MS

My team and I proud to offer a range of holistic, non-invasive treatment options that can restore your airway health and improve your sleep quality. Are you suffering from Sleep Apnea or another type of Sleep Disorder? If so, I encourage you to contact my office! My team and I can help you get the lasting relief and restful sleep you deserve. We offer comprehensive care for Sleep Apnea and other Sleep Disorders in Tupelo, MS. Contact us today!

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