Sleep has important impacts on upper airway function, and thus the nature of sleep, the physiological changes that accompany it, and the disorders associated with it are of concern to oral medicine specialists. These concerns relate to both their role in helping manage upper airway problems during sleep – snoring and obstructive sleep apnea – and to the fact that these problems often exist in patients presenting with other functional or cosmetic abnormalities involving the upper airway. Additionally, oral medicine specialists help manage insomnia related to chronic orofacial pain and sleep bruxism. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a general overview of sleep and its disorders, hence a context within which to consider specific sleep-relevant issues. It is particularly important that specialists focused on the upper airway have a good understanding of the impacts of sleep, as problems with airway patency may only manifest in this state. Furthermore, such problems, in turn, disrupt sleep itself, causing sleep loss and other physiological disturbances which have their own impacts on symptoms and on well-being.
KeywordsSleep disorders Upper airway Pharyngeal muscles Inadequate sleep Sleep disorders Sleep apnea Snoring Sleep hypoventilation Periodic breathing Insomnia Restless legs Narcolepsy Parasomnia Bruxism
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