Effective sleep apnea treatment that is easy to wear and easy to care for
The dentist’s office may seem an unlikely place to treat suspected sleep disorders; however, sleep-disordered breathing, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is characterized by overly-relaxed oral tissues. As experts in oral anatomy and function, Montclair Dental Care in Oakland, California, is well-equipped to evaluate your treatment needs and offer an easy-to-wear and easy-to-care-for alternative to CPAP therapy.
Is it “just” snoring – or something more dangerous?
Snoring is a common symptom of OSA. But that chronic, grating sound may exist on its own or be secondary to conditions such as OSA. Our dentist, Dr. Kenneth L. Childers, appreciates that even primary snoring can destroy relationships with partners and other family members. Entire families can suffer from a lack of quality sleep due to snoring. Restorative sleep is necessary to be our “best selves” and supports our overall health.
Snoring secondary to OSA is a severe medical condition that should not be ignored. If OSA remains untreated, patients with it are at increased risk of all sorts of severe complications, including:
- Auto and on-the-job accidents due to chronic fatigue, cognitive decline, and dementia
- Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke
- Type 2 diabetes
- Depression and mood disturbances
As noted, oral tissues are to blame for snoring and sleep apnea. When the muscles and soft tissues at the back of the throat relax during sleep, the airway narrows; tissues vibrate against the narrowed airway, which results in that distinctive rattling and rumbling sound. Patients with OSA may suffer from very loud and frequent snoring, accompanied by pauses in breathing throughout the night. The pauses arise as the tongue and soft tissues completely block airflow to the patient’s lungs. In the act of self-preservation, the brain panics and reawakens the body urgently. Often, patients with sleep apnea wake up with a snort and a gasp due to this ongoing process of breathlessness, followed by abrupt reawakening.
Do you snore excessively? Do you suffer from daytime fatigue? Do you awake during the night with shortness of breath? You may suffer from the life-threatening sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. About 1 in every 15 Americans suffer from sleep apnea and it is a problem that many don’t even realize they might have. But what does this have to do with dentistry? Because sleep apnea is caused by an airway obstruction, the disorder can be treated through the mouth. The Thorton adjustable positioner, or Tap appliance is one of the more popular ways to treat sleep apnea. When the jawbone yes lax, the tongue and soft tissue obstruct the airway. The tap appliance advances the jaw bone, allowing the air to flow freely and making sleep more restful throughout the night. If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your dentist today about possible treatment options.
Scary symptoms, resolved, with prompt treatment
Invasive surgical techniques have low success rates in the 20 to 40%-range. Plus, these treatments are accompanied by a host of risks and complications. CPAP therapy is considered the “standard” in sleep apnea treatment; however, while it is effective, the rate of compliance (use) by patients is alarmingly low. What good is a treatment, no matter how effective, if it doesn’t get used?
Instead of delivering continuous air to the patient via a bulky mask and noisy machine, Dr. Childers may recommend the design of a custom oral appliance. These appliances are discreet. Many patients quickly adjust to wearing them and forget they are even in their mouths! Depending on your specific snoring or sleep apnea relief needs, Dr. Childers may recommend mandibular advancement devices. MADs are designed as their name suggests; they advance the mandible (or lower jaw) forward. In doing so, the tissues in the mouth are repositioned as well. These and other device designs effectively remove the obstruction. So, patients can sleep and breathe soundly, safely, and continuously throughout the night.
You, and your loved ones, deserve restful, restorative sleep. Likewise, you should never sleep on potential symptoms of OSA, such as daytime sleepiness, frequent sore throats and hoarseness, and chronic headaches. Since OSA affects breathing and sleep, it is vital to your health and well-being to get prompt and effective care without delay. Call (510) 328-7792 today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Childers.