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Sleep apnea and snoring causes and treatment options in Sebastopol, CA
Here at Whole Health Dentistry in Sebastopol, CA we offer a wide variety of advanced care, including comfortable and convenient snoring and obstructive sleep apnea treatment options. Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by interrupted breathing while sleeping, sometimes causing the individual to wake up suddenly. These episodes can occur as frequently as 30 times per hour, yet the affected person may not realize it.
Many apnea patients are aware of their snoring, but they mistakenly think they are sleeping well. This is frightening, because sleep apnea is a serious disorder that can impact your overall health and quality of life in many ways. Potential complications of apnea include increased risk for stroke, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, viruses, depression, heart disease, obesity, and cognitive impairment.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?The sleep apnea test, called a polysomnogram, records your breathing patterns and other activities during sleep. It utilizes electrodes that measure electrical signals, a special type of belt to record breathing, and an oximeter to measure your blood oxygen level. There are two diagnostic options. The traditional method involves spending a night in a sleep laboratory. Many patients prefer at-home diagnostics, using a small, wearable device. Once you have completed a diagnostic test, a qualified sleep specialist will analyze the results.
Historically, only sleep specialist physicians treated apnea, and their recommendation was nearly always CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). However, a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine in 2018, found that other medical professionals can be equally successful in managing apnea.
Sleep Apnea Introduction VideoVideo Transcript
Do you snore excessively? Do you suffer from daytime fatigue? Do you awake during the night with shortness of breath? You may suffer from the life-threatening sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. About 1 in every 15 Americans suffer from sleep apnea and it is a problem that many don’t even realize they might have. But what does this have to do with dentistry? Because sleep apnea is caused by an airway obstruction, the disorder can be treated through the mouth. The Thorton adjustable positioner, or Tap appliance is one of the more popular ways to treat sleep apnea. When the jawbone yes lax, the tongue and soft tissue obstruct the airway. The tap appliance advances the jaw bone, allowing the air to flow freely and making sleep more restful throughout the night. If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your dentist today about possible treatment options.
Four reasons to consider oral appliance therapyCPAP therapy utilizes a mask and tubes, connected to a machine that creates air pressure. It has a very high success rate, when used properly and consistently. However, many people use it infrequently, or not at all. Patients complain about the quality of air, discomfort, or even allergies to the mask. Additionally, the machine itself can be bothersome, as it makes noise and is difficult to travel with. Thankfully, patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea may not need to depend on CPAP, thanks to advanced oral appliance therapy.
Oral appliances work by supporting tissues and structures around the airway. They maintain optimal position of the jaw and tongue, which helps prevent the airway from collapsing. This enables the person to breathe freely, without the assistance of a machine. Oral appliance therapy may be a good option for individuals with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea, as well as those with severe apnea who cannot tolerate CPAP.
The benefits of oral appliance therapy include:
- Effectiveness – According to AAST (American Association of Sleep Technologists), research has shown oral appliance therapy to be effective in improving sleep apnea, and a good option for people who are unable or unwilling to use CPAP.
- Comfort – Dr. Senn offers high quality appliances, customized for each patient. They are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, light weight, and tailored for a comfortable fit.
- Convenience – Oral appliances don’t need electricity, nor do they take up space in your bedroom. They are not only easy to wear, but also easy to transport, store, and clean.
- Health – There is no need to worry about moisture accumulation, contaminants in a screen, or other air quality issue. With an oral appliance you can breathe freely, and naturally.
What our patients say about Sleep Apnea and Snoring Treatment
Numbers you should knowSome of the statistics about obstructive sleep apnea are surprising and alarming.
- More than 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Because this condition often goes undiagnosed, we do not know the exact number. However, it is likely much higher.
- Approximately 50 to 70 million people in this country have sleep disorders.
- Experts estimate that four percent of middle-aged males and two percent of females have sleep apnea severe enough to cause symptoms.
- Interruptions in breath may last as long as ten seconds.
Symptoms of sleep apneaThe most common signs of apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness
- Waking suddenly during the night
- Pauses of breathing, which other people might notice
- Waking up feeling short of breath
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat or dry mouth in the morning
- Difficulty concentrating
- Irritability or moodiness
- Reduced immune system functioning
Simple snoring vs apneaWhat is sleep apnea and how does it differ from snoring? Although closely linked, the two are separate conditions. The important distinction is breathing, or a lack thereof.
- Snoring is the sound of soft tissue vibrating as air passes through, which means the person is breathing. Although the noise can disrupt sleeping partners, simple snoring is typically not harmful.
- Apnea involves pauses, short spells when the person is not breathing at all. Most, but not all, apnea patients snore very loudly when breathing resumes.
Are you at risk?Anyone can have obstructive sleep apnea, even young children. However, certain factors increase your risk. These include:
- Age – The older you are, the higher your risk
- Gender – Apnea is twice as common in males
- Physical traits – Narrow airway, swollen adenoids, large tonsils
- Family medical history – Close relatives have apnea
- Substances – Alcohol, cigarettes, sedatives, sleeping aids, narcotics