Sleep Apnea Therapy
A good night’s sleep is essential to function well throughout the day. Unfortunately, studies indicate that millions of people in the US are not receiving the quantity or quality of sleep they need to maintain optimal health. If you feel tired no matter how much sleep you get, experience chronic snoring, or have difficulty concentrating, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. At Los Gatos Dental Group, our skilled dentists have training and experience to help patients get an accurate sleep apnea diagnosis and partner with them to receive the care they need to sleep soundly and wake feeling rested. If you want help diagnosing and finding treatment for sleep apnea in Los Gatos, call our caring sleep dentist and team today.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is one of the three most common sleep disorders. It occurs when patients stop breathing for ten or more seconds at a time during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea – central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea is rare, and it is caused by issues when the electrical signals from the brain that fail to trigger the body to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common. It is caused by an actual airway blockage that prevents normal breathing. This form of sleep apnea has a wide range of treatment options including oral appliance therapy available form a trusted sleep dentist.
How do I Know I Have Sleep Apnea?
The only way to know for sure you’re suffering from sleep apnea is to undergo a professional sleep study. However, it’s important for patients to recognize the risk factors and warning signs of this sleep disorder and let their medical doctor or dentist know right away. Men, patients who are considered obese, and people over the age of 60 are all at a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Some warning signs you’re suffering from sleep apnea include:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Waking feeling tired after receiving adequate sleep
- Excessive exhaustion during the day
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Mood swings or changes in behavior
What Treatments Are Available?
One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). These systems use pressurized air to keep the airway open during sleep. While CPAP offers effective treatment for many patients, others find themselves unable to adjust to this treatment option. These patients are considered CPAP intolerant. For these patients, those who travel frequently, and those who receive inadequate relief from CPAP treatment, oral appliances or combined CPAP and oral appliance therapy may be a viable alternative. Oral appliances are custom crafted to shift the jaw forward. The shift in jaw position places pressure on the throat muscles, which keeps the airway clear during sleep.
Why Should I Visit a Dentist for Sleep Apnea Therapy?
Dentists, especially trained sleep dentists, receive extensive training that allows them to understand the way oral and facial structures interact. That makes them the ideal doctors to provide treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, as they have a unique understanding of how the airway and facial structures function and how to improve that function.