Why You Should Try a Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance

Gum Guard Perspective

Over eighteen million adult Americans today suffer from sleep apnea. Many of these people have simply decided to deal with this condition, which is a very unhealthy and even dangerous choice. It is important to know that there are many different ways that sleep apnea can be treated, some of which as very easy. One of these treatments is using a sleep apnea oral appliance.

We find that many patients do not like the idea of sleeping with an oral appliance in at night. We reassure everyone that these mouth guards are comfortable and cannot cause pain. In fact, most patients report that they are completely used to wearing it within just a few nights.

This may be the easiest way to eliminate the effects of sleep apnea. There are two main types of appliances. You might get a better night’s sleep with one that moves the lower jaw forward, or one that moves both the lower jaw and the tongue forward, in order to create more room in the air passageways.

Our dentist will work with our Northridge sleep apnea patients to find a treatment that works best for them. You don’t have to suffer from this disorder for life. Schedule an appointment with us today.

When is Snoring an Issue?

Woman annoyed by the snoring of her partner in her bed

It’s not entirely true that snoring is not normal. Stigmatized in society, snoring is associated with obesity and aging. In fact, while weight gain and the aging factors that act specifically on the throat muscles can lead to increased snoring, basically everyone snores at least occasionally. Causes range from alcohol consumption, to heavy allergies, to a sinus infection.

Besides the overweight and the elderly, groups notorious for snoring are those with enlarged tonsils or adenoids—this group includes children. Others may snore because they have a deviated septum, or nasal polyps.

Sufferers across the snoring spectrum do not always know how much they snore. You’re asleep, obviously, and if you sleep alone there are no witnesses. People who snore infrequently often realize it when their obstructed nasal passages wake them up. Otherwise, those who snore while in a deep sleep stay oblivious. It’s important for these people, especially, to keep up with their sleep education.

If you snore a lot, you may have sleep apnea. This is a condition in which altered airflow creates what is called an apneic event, or sleep interruption. Chronic sufferers may wake up dozens of times per night because they stopped breathing. This condition can become quite serious if left untreated. So if you’ve been told you snore, we advise you to contact our expert in sleep apnea in Thousand Oaks.

How to Find Out if You Have Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is an exceptionally common condition that many people have no idea that they have. Given the laundry list of ramification of such a diagnosis, this is a concerning reality. Finding out if you have sleep apnea is extraordinarily important and should be undertaken as soon as possible.

To do so, there are a few simple steps that you can take. Begin by scheduling an appointment with our dentist in Orange County.

Since this is likely to be at least a couple of weeks out, begin keeping a sleep diary for a week or two prior to your appointment. In it, keep track of your sleep schedule over the course of a week or two. Then note how you feel in the morning, paying particular attention to whether or not you have headaches in the morning. It is also important to indicate if you regularly have dry mouth or need to urinate frequently during the night. Also write down if anyone says they heard you snoring and even potentially catch a recording of it. Lastly, indicate if you needed to take a nap during the day or if you felt tired throughout the day.

Give all of this information to our expert in sleep apnea in Orange County. You will be asked additional information, including regarding your medical history. Then you may be given a machine to test yourself during the night in your sleep. Otherwise, it may be recommended that you visit a sleep testing center for more intensive recordings. Ultimately, these tests will be able to indicate if you suffer from this condition.

Contact our office to find out what you can do to deal with it any potential sleep apnea you may have.

About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring man and young woman. Couple sleeping in bed.

The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. This is caused when the throat muscles relax to the point where the walls of the airway block the air coming in and out of your lungs either partially or completely. While this is naturally corrected by your body waking you up, it is nevertheless a very serious condition that can have widespread implications for your health and productivity.

Obstructive sleep apnea can cause you to emerge from deep sleep from five to thirty times per hour. Although it is not entirely clear why we need to sleep and what happens to our bodies during it, it is abundantly clear that a full night of restful sleep is absolutely necessary. Moreover, the body goes through very distinct stages of sleep that all seem to serve different purposes. When we are aroused from sleep continually while going through these stages, we are unable to get the proper rest that our bodies desperately need. This lack of restful sleep can have widespread and concerning side effects on our health, mood, and productivity.

There are numerous ways to assist in addressing sleep apnea, including sleeping on your side rather than your back, using a mouth guard to keep your mouth and tongue in better positions, and changes to lifestyle, including the avoidance of alcohol before bed and weight loss. You should talk to our sleep apnea dentist in Glendale to learn more about ways to deal with this condition.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Woman annoyed by the snoring of her partner in her bed

Sleep apnea affects many Americans with repeated breathing interruptions that cause daytime fatigue and raise a host of health risks. A wide range of treatments are available to treat obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of the condition, and patients are increasingly choosing dental approaches. Here is a look at classic and contemporary sleep apnea treatment options.

CPAP

Short for continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP keeps the airway open during sleep by maintaining high air pressure there. Patients receiving CPAP wear a mask attached by hose to a bedside air pump. While CPAP works well for many patients, many others do not receive improvements or find it intolerable.

Dental Options

Dental treatment of sleep apnea can involve oral appliances or soft tissue surgery. With special oral appliances, the lower jaw and tongue can be prevented from collapsing backward and blocking the airway during sleep. Soft tissue surgery from our dentist in Northridge works by permanently widening the airway via removal of excess tissue there.

Untreated sleep apnea raises risks of not only deadly accidents but also heart disease, stroke and sudden cardiac death. With prompt treatment from our expert in sleep apnea treatment in Northridge, patients may prevent these complications and regain a high quality of life.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects many millions of Americans, but many people do not even realize that they have it. Often, it requires a sleeping partner recognizing one of the tell-tale symptoms of sleep apnea. In addition to symptoms that your sleeping partner should watch out for, there are also symptoms you can watch out for in yourself.

Loud snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. This symptom in particular is usually discovered by someone other than the person who is sleeping. Waking up with a choking or a gasping sensation is also a common symptom. So is restless sleep. Our North Hollywood dentists warn that you may or may not notice these symptoms on your own, as it can be hard to monitor you own sleeping patterns.

If you do not have somebody to monitor you as you sleep, there are some common symptoms that you can look out for on your own. If you wake up every day with a dry throat, this could possibly be a symptom of sleep apnea. The same holds true for frequent morning headaches. If you feel like you are waking up too frequently at night or that you suffer from insomnia, these can also be symptoms. Sleepiness during the day is something else that can indicate sleep apnea. Also, watch out for mood changes and forgetfulness.

If you notice any of the symptoms above, contact our expert in sleep apnea in North Hollywood to set up a consultation.

When are Oral Appliances the Best Option for Treating Sleep Apnea?

Symptoms associated with sleep apnea can be very difficult to live with for not only you, but your sleeping partner, also. As many times sleep apnea causes chronic and loud snoring, restless sleep, and irritability during the day, finding the right treatment for your apnea is the best thing you can do to relieve you and your partner of this unhappiness.

For those suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea, commonly the obstructive sleep apnea form, an oral appliance for sleep apnea combined with a few lifestyle changes can be all that you need for treating it. Oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses a device similar to a mouth guard or retainer. When placed before going to bed, the oral appliance controls the jaw to stay in a forward position in support of opening the upper airways. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, there are more than 100 oral appliances that have been approved by the FDA. Although you can find one-size-fits all oral appliance in stores, it is best to have your dentist custom-make it to ensure the perfect fit for a perfect night sleep. Some of the lifestyle changes that can be combined with this treatment option include having a routine sleep schedule, eating a healthy diet not close to bed time, and daily exercise to decrease any weight or thickness surrounding the neck.

Determining when an oral appliance is the best option will depend solely on how severe your sleep apnea symptoms are. While your dentist can be certified for providing your oral appliance, deciding on how complex the apnea is usually only done through a sleep study for most cases. Oral appliances are only a good solution for most mild to moderate sleep apnea symptoms, also. Thus, those suffering with severe sleep apnea will not get relief through this option.

For more information on when oral appliances are the best option for treating sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with our expert in sleep apnea treatments in Los Angeles.