Sleep Apnea Therapy – Los Gatos, CA
Catch Your Breath for a Better Night’s Sleep
Here at Los Gatos Dental Group, we know that there is more to patient care than just repairing teeth. We want to help you achieve whole-body wellness. We take that responsibility seriously, which is why we are always learning about the latest treatments that could benefit our patients’ health. One of the keys to overall health is an effective breathing wellness program.
According to one estimate, more than 22 million Americans suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that is strongly correlated with chronic fatigue and anxiety. Left untreated, it can even contribute to a number of serious health conditions or even death. If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing, we encourage you to come talk to us about VIVOS.
What Causes 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.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can have numerous causes. One common culprit behind the condition is failure of the upper and lower jaw to develop properly. This anatomical abnormality, called maxillary hypoplasia and/or mandibular retrognathia, results in a compromised upper airway and makes it difficult if not impossible for a person to get high-quality sleep.
Recognizing Sleep Apnea
OSA can come with a range of signs and symptoms, some of which are so common that they are easy to ignore. You might even consider them to be normal. 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:
What Treatment 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.
Sleep Apnea Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some questions about sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy from our dental office? The Los Gatos Dental Group team would be happy to help. You can reach us anytime over the phone or by email. Below, you will find answers to some of the sleep apnea questions we hear most often, but we would love the opportunity to address any of your questions or concerns personally. Please don’t hesitate to call our team or schedule a sleep apnea consultation to learn more. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Is Loud Snoring Always Sleep Apnea?
Not always, but it is one of the most common side effects of sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when air moving through the nasal passages or throat vibrates against tissue. For patients with obstructive sleep apnea, this vibrating tissue may be preventing them from breathing or inhaling deeply enough to receive adequate oxygen. Patients with sleep apnea typically experience loud snoring with periods of silence between. The snoring is typically restarted with a gasping or wheezing sound that occurs when the body wakens itself to begin breathing again. Snoring that is not caused by airway obstruction is usually a consistent volume without long breaks between snores. Both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may be treatable with oral appliance therapy, so don’t hesitate to ask our skilled dentists and team about oral appliance therapy to treat snoring.
Do Oral Appliances Work for All Sleep Apnea Sufferers?
Not all sleep apnea sufferers can be treated with oral appliances. Those who are suffering from central sleep apnea will not be able to use this form of treatment. Central sleep apnea occurs when the mind fails to trigger the body to breathe in or out. CPAP may be effective for these patients as it forces air into the system, but many central sleep apnea patients need advanced surgical treatments. Additionally, patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea may not receive adequate relief with an oral appliance alone. Instead, these patients may benefit from combined CPAP and oral appliance therapy or just CPAP treatment.
Do I Have to Do a Sleep Study in a Clinic?
Today, at-home sleep studies are becoming much more common and reliable diagnostic options for sleep apnea sufferers. Traditional in-office sleep studies offer greater sensitivity to track instances of apnea (complete cessation of breathing for ten or more seconds) and hypopnea (shallow breathing or cessation for less than ten seconds). However, many patients report they were unable to sleep comfortably, so these studies may not represent an accurate picture of your actual sleep cycle. At-home tests are slightly less sensitive than the in-office studies. Patients are able to sleep more soundly in a place they’re used to, so these tests may offer a more accurate representation of actual sleep cycles. You can talk to our team or a trusted local sleep physician about your sleep study options to find the solution that best fits your needs.
What if I Have Central Sleep Apnea?
Central sleep apnea is a much more serious health risk. Because the cessation of breathing is caused by the brain’s failing to trigger the body to inhale and exhale, patients are in serious danger, and for some patients, central sleep apnea can be fatal. If you’re diagnosed with central sleep apnea, it’s essential that you work closely with a trusted sleep doctor to create a treatment plan that will safely and effectively treat your condition. Most patients with central sleep apnea will not be candidates for oral appliance therapy. However, if you struggle to adapt to the sounds and sensations of CPAP treatment, combining an oral appliance with your CPAP may be a viable option. The oral appliance opens the airway, so your CPAP can be used at lower levels, which many patients adjust to more readily.
Am I at High Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea. However, there are some patients who are considered higher risk, including those who:
- Have a BMI greater than 25
- Have a neck circumference greater than 16 inches for women or 17 inches for men
- Are 50 years of age or older
- Are male
- Suffer from high blood pressure
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
Can Putting a Humidifier in My Bedroom Help My Sleep Apnea?
Many patients who are suffering from sleep apnea in Los Gatos will place humidifiers in their room to help reduce dryness and open their airways while they’re sleeping. Some common symptoms that patients who have sleep apnea experience are nasal congestion and dry mouth and throat. With the addition of a heated humidifier, you’ll add moisture into the air and eliminate these issues. If you’re using a CPAP machine in combination with your oral appliance, a humidifier will allow you to eliminate any excessive dryness you experience from the continuous air being pumped through your airways.
How Often Should I Clean My Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance?
Cleaning your sleep apnea after each use is important. Be sure to avoid rinsing it under any kind of hot water, because this can warp the customized shape of the appliance and affect the way it fits in your mouth. Always store it in a hard, protective case and dry it off thoroughly to keep bacteria from breeding on it.
Every morning when you take out your appliance, be sure to brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush using gentle circular motions. Make sure not to use regular toothpaste because it could damage and scratch your appliance. Instead, try a clear antibacterial soap. Make sure to never let saliva dry onto your appliance.
Are Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Painful to Wear?
Properly fitted oral appliances from your sleep dentist in Los Gatos are the most comfortable treatment you can purchase because they’re specially made to securely and easily fit in your mouth. However, it can still be difficult to adjust to sleeping with it. While your appliance may be slightly uncomfortable, it should never be painful to wear. If your jaw begins to ache, be sure to contact our office right away. If you have TMJ disorder, you may not be able to use an oral appliance.
Will My Insurance Cover the Cost of an Oral Appliance?
If you’re not sure whether your health insurance will pay for your oral appliance, be sure to contact them directly. Most policies will cover a portion of the cost for this treatment for patients who have failed to benefit from using a CPAP machine, have had a surgery that didn’t help treat their condition, or are a healthy weight.
The Vivos Treatment Protocol
The VIVOS system is a multi-disciplinary treatment protocol that is designed to address the cause of OSA and sleep disordered breathing. On average, the protocol takes 12 – 24 months to complete. It is nonsurgical and nonpharmaceutical.
How VIVOS Works
Pneumopedics® is a nonsurgical method for remodeling the upper airway. It involves both naturally occurring and treatment-induced changes that takes place over time. Pneumopedics® is a key part of the VIVOS system and can be instrumental in addressing mandibular retrusion and maxillary hypoplasia.
Benefits of VIVOS
OSA can have a profound impact on virtually every aspect of your life. You will be amazed at the differences you notice as you begin to experience results from the VIVOS system. Just a few of the benefits that you may enjoy include:
- No more snoring
- Reduced anxiety and fatigue
- Increased productivity
- Fewer headaches
- A reduced risk of hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease
Additionally, many patients love the VIVOS protocol itself because it does not require invasive surgery, nor does it involve the use of drugs, which can have unpleasant side effects. It offers a permanent way to address the root cause of OSA.
Are you ready to breathe new life into your life? The VIVOS system may be able to help! If you would like to learn more about this advanced treatment protocol and find out whether you are a candidate for it, reach out to Los Gatos Dental Group today. We are eager to help you experience all the wonders of high-quality shuteye.