Sleep Apnea Treatment
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing disorder which can cause you to stop breathing hundreds of times during the night – sometimes only for a few seconds, but sometimes upwards of a minute. These breathing pauses reduce the amount of oxygen your lungs get as well as result in short awakenings that disturb your sleep.
Risk Factors For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Anyone can have sleep apnea, but certain factors may elevate your risk for having it. The following are some of the better-known risk factors:
- Males are at higher risk than females
- Persons older than 50
- Being overweight
- A larger neck size – greater than 17 for males, greater than 16 for females
- Large tonsils
- A large tongue
- Small jaws
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Sinus problems
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
For those with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles relax during sleep and allow the soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. These apneas, or pauses in breathing, cause a variety of symptoms and health-related effects:
- Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Higher blood pressure
- Greater risk of injury at work or while driving
- Greater risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and mood disorders.
When you can’t get a good night’s rest, you have trouble focusing and enjoying your life.
Dental Sleep Medicine
Dental sleep medicine is an area of specialization for dentists that focuses on treating sleep apnea. Dentists trained in this field work with doctors and clinicians to find the best treatment plan to address a patient’s sleep disorder. Their role is often to help manage a patient’s snoring and OSA symptoms through oral appliance therapy.
Oral Devices in Treating Sleep Apnea
Every patient must be individually evaluated to discover the best treatment for their unique needs. Many patients are helped by using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine while they sleep. Others find that oral appliance therapy works well. In those cases, a customized oral appliance is worn during sleep. These mouthpieces are easy to use, comfortable, and convenient as well as effective.
Oral appliance therapy at Complete Health Dentistry SoCal involves custom made mandibular advancement devices (MADs). MADs hold the lower jaw and tongue in a slightly forward position and keep the soft tissue in the back of the throat from blocking the airway at night. They resemble athletic mouthguards – two arched pieces with a hinge connecting them. These devices are very effective in improving sleep. And they are easier to carry, soundless, and affordable, which is why many prefer them over a CPAP machine.
Dr. Rappaport’s Expertise
Dr. Erela Katz Rappaport has been trained in dental sleep medicine, and is designated as a Qualified Dentist in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She has extensive experience working with patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, and coordinates with other doctors and clinicians to find the best method to alleviate patients’ symptoms. Contact us to discuss sleep apnea solutions with Dr. Rappaport, and begin getting the restorative sleep you need for optimum health and enjoyment!