Sleep Apnea Therapy in Lake Forest, CA
Sleep apnea, a condition characterized by brief breathing interruptions during sleep, can often go unnoticed as it occurs while you're asleep. One potential indicator is chronic snoring, though not all snorers have sleep apnea. This syndrome is more prevalent in older individuals, men, and those who are overweight. Surprisingly, even younger and fit individuals can be at risk, with recent studies showing that up to 1 in 4 Americans are high-risk candidates for sleep apnea. If you experience symptoms such as snoring or daytime drowsiness despite a full night's sleep, it's wise to consult your doctor for an evaluation. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed through a sleep study conducted by your general practitioner.
Understanding Sleep Apnea:
During sleep, a blockage forms in the airway, causing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is often due to excessive relaxation of throat muscles, leading to a temporary collapse of tongue and throat tissues. Even during sleep, your brain reacts to this partial suffocation by momentarily awakening you to resume breathing. However, the sleep apnea pattern continues once you relax again, potentially repeating hundreds of times in a single night. This disrupted sleep leaves individuals feeling tired and unrefreshed. Recent studies have associated sleep apnea with serious health issues like cognitive impairment, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and acid reflux.
Exploring Treatment Options:
While your primary care physician diagnoses sleep apnea and prescribes treatment, dentists also have a role to play. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common therapy, involving a machine that supplies constant air pressure through a mask. Although effective, CPAP can be uncomfortable and requires diligent maintenance.
Dentistry offers an alternative solution that many patients find more comfortable. Specially designed dental appliances, resembling sports mouthguards, position the lower jaw to prevent the tongue and upper throat muscles from collapsing into the airway. Unlike CPAP, these custom-fitted devices offer ease of use and can also minimize snoring, benefiting both the patient and their sleep partner.
Our Role in Sleep Apnea Therapy:
If diagnosed with sleep apnea, we collaborate with you and your doctor to devise a dental device plan ensuring uninterrupted nighttime breathing. Contact us today at 949-899-6090 with any inquiries or to schedule an appointment.