NMB dentist: Snoring is a fire alarm; wake up, sleep apnea is a - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

NMB dentist: Snoring is a fire alarm; wake up, sleep apnea is a serious problem

A mouth guard will be used to help those with sleep apnea. (Source: WMBF News) A mouth guard will be used to help those with sleep apnea. (Source: WMBF News)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WM BF) - A North Myrtle Beach dentist says when he found out obstructive sleep apnea can take 10 to 15 years off a person's life expectancy, he started researching how to help patients dealing with the condition. 

"The majority of patients have problems sleeping at night. So it's something that we as a practice got involved with to see what options we have to help the patient," said Dr. Ronnie Barth, a dentist with Gentle Dental Care.

Barth said it is the one condition that he feels brings medical doctors and dentists together to find a cure.  

"Dentists can't diagnose patients with sleep apnea and doctors can't make devices to treat sleep apnea," Barth said. "So, we are working together to help patients. There's 22 million people in America that have issues with sleep-related breathing disorders. Of those 22 million, 80 percent of these are moderate to severe sleep apnea patients who are left undiagnosed. They have no idea."

Often times patents don't like to talk about snoring, since it's seen as an embarrassing subject. According to Barth, that means sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. 

However, Barth said snoring can let a person know there is a serious or possibly deadly health problem going on. 

"A lot of people will tell you they don't snore. Snoring is nothing more than a fire alarm, so if you silence the snoring with a lot of these appliances you can get from the drug store, you're not putting out the fire," he said. "You just silenced the problem, no, now you just die silently."

Sherry Cook, an elementary school teacher in Virginia and one of Barth's patients, said her doctor diagnosed her with sleep apnea a few years ago.

"I was not sleeping, I was gaining weight, I was having lots of pain and I knew I started snoring a lot," Cook said. "I could be sitting on the floor and reading to the children and I have dozed off, and I don't think they've notice it, but I could remember not reading a couple of pages. I do have a lunch break and about three to four times a week, I take a little nap."

Cook said her health also declined. She was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and she couldn't focus mentally.

"I can't concentrate. I even had to go to a psychiatrist because my brain couldn't focus. I have two masters and I started thinking, 'Do I have early dementia?'" 

Cook is getting an evaluation to see if she can possibly benefit from the dental appliances used to treat sleep apnea. 

"We always take medicines to go to bed, and we drink stuff to wake up in the morning, but a good solid night's sleep can take away a lot of that," Barth said. 

He added a CPAP machine is a common device to treat sleep apnea patients, and he says while it is standard care, it is not always effective. 

Barth is fitting Cook and patients like her who are diagnosed with sleep apnea with custom-made mouth guards. The wings on the devices help keep the patient's airway open during a night's sleep. 

In addition to fitting patients for mouth guards, Barth utilizes a sleep monitor, which is attached to the patient's head and allows medical professionals to study how the person sleeps.

Barth said more insurance companies are allowing for the devices to be used because they give a better analysis of a how a person sleeps in a non-foreign environment rather than in a foreign sleep lab. 

In Cook's case, she is glad she spoke with her doctor about her symptoms. 

"I'm relieved that there was an answer," she said. "I really thought something more serious was going on,  which I know this is serious, but I know what's going on." 

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

  • Local NewsLocalMore>>

  • Kyle Busch will attend ribbon cutting for motor sports charter school

    Kyle Busch will attend ribbon cutting for motor sports charter school

    Sunday, July 22 2018 6:18 PM EDT2018-07-22 22:18:41 GMT
    The school is expected to be ready by August 22nd (Source: WMBF News)The school is expected to be ready by August 22nd (Source: WMBF News)

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -- A NASCAR superstar is heading to Horry County in August as students enrolled at the PLAM Charter High School gear up for a new school year at a brand new state of the art facility in Conway. Last year, the school had 125 students enrolled, but with this new facility the school is expected to have nearly 160 students enrolled this upcoming school year. To help kick off the new school year NASCAR driver Kyle Busch will help cut the r...

    More >>

    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -- A NASCAR superstar is heading to Horry County in August as students enrolled at the PLAM Charter High School gear up for a new school year at a brand new state of the art facility in Conway. Last year, the school had 125 students enrolled, but with this new facility the school is expected to have nearly 160 students enrolled this upcoming school year. To help kick off the new school year NASCAR driver Kyle Busch will help cut the r...

    More >>
  • Law enforcement searching for man accused of severely beating woman

    Law enforcement searching for man accused of severely beating woman

    Sunday, July 22 2018 3:26 PM EDT2018-07-22 19:26:09 GMT
    Source: Marion County Sheriff's OfficeSource: Marion County Sheriff's Office
    Source: Marion County Sheriff's OfficeSource: Marion County Sheriff's Office
    MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Police are searching for a man accused of beating a woman in Mullins Sunday.  Emanual Warren, 34, of Mullins is charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.  Captain Brian Wallace of the Marion County Sheriff's Office says the woman required medical attention from the injuries to her face, If you have any information about Warren or where he could be located you are asked to call the Marion County Sheriff's Office at ...More >>
    MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Police are searching for a man accused of beating a woman in Mullins Sunday.  Emanual Warren, 34, of Mullins is charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.  Captain Brian Wallace of the Marion County Sheriff's Office says the woman required medical attention from the injuries to her face, If you have any information about Warren or where he could be located you are asked to call the Marion County Sheriff's Office at ...More >>
  • Horry County Police investigating after shooting in Socastee

    Horry County Police investigating after shooting in Socastee

    Sunday, July 22 2018 1:32 PM EDT2018-07-22 17:32:43 GMT
    Source: Ian Klein/WMBF NewsSource: Ian Klein/WMBF News
    Source: Ian Klein/WMBF NewsSource: Ian Klein/WMBF News
    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Police are investigating Sunday after a shooting near a home in Socastee. Horry County Police responded to a home in the 5400 block of Figure 8 Road off Socastee Boulevard according to Cpt. John Harrelson.  One victim is confirmed to have been transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  WMBF News will continue to follow the developing story as more information comes available.  Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights ...More >>
    HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Police are investigating Sunday after a shooting near a home in Socastee. Horry County Police responded to a home in the 5400 block of Figure 8 Road off Socastee Boulevard according to Cpt. John Harrelson.  One victim is confirmed to have been transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  WMBF News will continue to follow the developing story as more information comes available.  Copyright 2018 WMBF News. All rights ...More >>
Powered by Frankly