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Do You Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious yet common sleep disorder that causes your breathing to become shallow or stop completely during sleep. In some people, this pause in breathing (called apnea) can last 10 seconds or longer and it can repeat 30 times or more in an hour.

Even though the condition is common, it often goes undiagnosed because many of the symptoms — such as loud snoring, gasping for air, and interruptions in breathing — occur during sleep, when individuals may not even realize what’s happening.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Here are some common symptoms that may be indications that you have this condition:

  • Feeling sleepy and exhausted during the day despite getting enough sleep at night.
  • Waking up with dry mouth.
  • Having morning headaches.
  • Having trouble with memory, attention, and concentration.
  • Irritability.
  • Experiencing shortness of breath, problems with swallowing, weakness or numbness in your body, voice changes (all of which are more common in people with central sleep apnea).
  • Chronic snoring that may be loud.
  • Repeated pauses in breathing followed by snorting and gasping for air.
How can a dentist help with Sleep Apnea?

Dentists can have a valuable role when it comes to obstructive sleep apnea treatment. After receiving a diagnosis, a dental appointment can help people with sleep apnea learn more about their treatment options. The first option would be recommending to wear oral appliances. These devices can ease symptoms in patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea. One of the most common ones calls mandibular advancement device.

By the help of this device, which looks like a mouthguard, pushes the lower jaw forward. In this position, the muscles that collapse during apneas tighten so that they can’t fall down. Gradually and over time, oral appliances can make the airway stronger so that they can reduce or eliminate apneas. Some of these devices are adjustable and allow users to alter the position where the jaw sits when they’re in place.

Dentists assess their patients’ teeth, mouths, and temporomandibular joints to determine whether they are good candidates for mandibular advancement devices.

If they are, dentists make models of their teeth. Specialists use these models to craft oral appliances that fit patients’ mouths. This proper fit is very important as an incorrectly fitted device can damage the jaw. Patients wear their devices while they sleep to reduce their sleep apnea symptoms.

Tongue-retaining devices are another option which is less common, but they’re appropriate for a wider range of mouths. These oral appliances hold the patient’s tongue in a forward position. As the tongue is attached to the lower jaw, this device also keeps the airway open.

Dentists work with their patients each step of the way to make sure their oral appliances are working and improving their symptoms. While the devices may be uncomfortable at first, many users should adjust within a few days. Like any other treatments, consistency is the key, so regular monitoring and continued use help oral appliance users get the best results.

How do we help you with Sleep Apnea?

First, we want to know how the air moves thru your nose. People who have chronic allergies and sinus problems are most often chronic mouth breathers because they have issues with the air passing thru their nose. Even the lingual frenum may act as a tether to the tongue and keep it in the wrong position inside your mouth.

When you visit our sleep apnea dentist office in Tarzana, we will start by determining if you do suffer from these conditions. The next step may require an at-home sleep study. This is where you use a device to monitor your breathing patterns, heart rate, oxygenation, and record what happens, for us to review the next day. By looking at the test results, we will be able to tell whether or not you are getting the oxygen that your body needs at night. If you are diagnosed, we have taken a big step towards the treatment, as the solution is easier than you may think.

If an oral appliance is recommended then we can take impressions of your mouth. This information will then be sent to the dental lab so that a removable oral appliance can be crafted for you to wear while you sleep. It is small and looks like a full retainer that connects to your upper and lower jaw. When you wear it, your jaw will be held in place so that it cannot fall backward at night. Your tongue will also remain in place and your airways clear. The result of this simple treatment is that you breathe better, improve your oxygen levels and you sleep better so that you will feel more energized and healthier overall.

Why Elite Dental & Implant Center?

At Elite Dental & Implant Center, we are committed to providing premium dental care for our patients with cutting-edge technology. Our goal is to make our dentistry services pain free, precise and comfortable.

We want to give each patient the attention they deserve. From the moment you pick up the phone to every step of your appointment process and after-care, our staff wants to make every effort to connect with you and meet your expectations. This is what makes us stand out from the crowd! We look forward to meeting you so call us today at (818) 578-6733!