Sleep Apnea Treament

san-clemente-dentist

Topics:

What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

obstructive-sleep-apnea
During OSA episodes, you stop breathing for periods of 10 seconds or longer.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which you stop breathing for extended periods of time. These periods of non-breathing occur repeatedly throughout the night and last 10 or more seconds each. Depending on the severity of your condition, you could experience one, two or even hundreds of these non-breathing episodes nightly.

Why is obstructive sleep apnea a problem?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition and you should not ignore it. Episodes of non-breathing during sleep apnea cause you to wake up and gasp for air. This prevents you from getting the deep sleep that your bodies requires, leaving you tired during the day. Untreated OSA can be a precursor to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and depression. Even worse, severe OSA can be fatal should you fail to restore breathing during a non-breathing episode.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

It is estimated that more than 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the majority of these people are unaware of their condition. The most obvious sign of obstructive sleep apnea is nighttime snoring. Other signs of OSA include:

  • Feeling tired throughout the day
  • Being irritable
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Diminished productivity and a generalized decrease in quality of life

If you suspect that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, talk to your physician or dentist. You will require a sleep test to verify if you’re suffering from OSA. Sleep test can be administered at home or in a sleep lab. Afterwards, a sleep physician will analyze your sleep test to determine if you have OSA. If diagnosed with OSA, you will be referred to a physician or dentist for further treatment.

How do you treat sleep apnea?

If your sleep physician determines that you suffer from OSA, then we need to use either a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine or oral appliance. A CPAP machine forces air into your lungs to ensure that you’re breathing enough Oxygen over night. An oral appliance opens up your airways to allow you to breath better when asleep. A CPAP is typically the treatment of choice for severe OSA. However, since CPAP machines are bulky, loud and uncomfortable, some choose to go for an oral appliance instead.

How can dentists help with treating sleep apnea?

sleep-apnea-treatment-san-clemente
Example of a mandibular advancement sleep apnea device.

Dentists can help with both diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea. Dentists spend a lot of time looking in your mouth which gives them an excellent opportunity to screen for OSA. If your dentist suspects that you’re suffering from sleep apnea, he or she will refer you for a sleep test.

In addition to diagnosing sleep apnea, dentists can also help treat your condition. Dentists fabricate custom oral appliances for patients unable to use a CPAP machine. Oral appliances typically re-position your tongue to open up your airways. They are a great alternative to using a CPAP machine for those who qualify. Generally, oral appliances made by your dentist is much more comfortable than using a CPAP machine. There are a variety of FDA-approved OSA appliances on the market which can be used to treat sleep apnea.

How do I start addressing my sleep apnea?

If you suspect that you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, contact us today. Call (949) 481-2540 or book a sleep apnea consultation today. We will evaluate your airways and refer you to a sleep lab if required. Additionally, we will work with you to determine which sleep apnea device best suits your needs and make appropriate referrals when needed.