Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Woodland Hills and Manhattan Beach
Excessive snoring can certainly annoy your partner and may even cause you to decide to sleep in two separate rooms, placing an unnecessary strain on your relationship. While it may seem like an unfortunate annoyance, snoring can also indicate a serious health condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.
Chronic snoring is a common affliction; in fact, according to the National sleep foundation, more than 37 million Americans suffer from persistent snoring. Unfortunately, many unlucky sufferers never seek medical attention to treat their condition—possibly they may not realize that it can be remedied.
Culturally, loud snoring might make for humorous anecdotes, but the reality is that chronic snoring can significantly impact your quality of sleep—and life—and can be indicative of a severe condition known as sleep apnea.
- What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
- How We Diagnose Sleep Apnea
- Who Is Likely to Have Sleep Apnea?
- Oral Appliance Therapy for OSA
- The Vitamin D and Sleep Disorder Connection
- Are You Waking Up Tired?
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes your breathing to stop while you sleep—often dozens or even hundreds of times per night. When your body stops receiving oxygen, it signals your brain to wake up and resume breathing. You may have no memory of these nighttime interruptions, but they cause health complications that you should not ignore.
Sleep apnea is caused by excessive tissue at the back of the throat, excess body weight, a thick neck, and alcohol and drug use, as well as age. Men over the age of 40 are the most common sufferers of OSA. Unless someone tells you that you snore or stop breathing while you sleep, you may not even realize it.
Some signs you may have a sleep disorder include:
- Waking up not feeling rested
- Daily drowsiness
- Dry mouth
- Sensitive teeth
- Jaw pain
- Mood swings
Failure to seek treatment for OSA can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Mood swings
- Early death
- Memory loss
- Body aches
Up until recently, the only treatment available to treat OSA was a breathing mask worn at night. A CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine is still the standard for many who suffer from OSA, but for others who do not tolerate the CPAP well or who have mild to moderate OSA, we offer oral appliance therapy.
How We Diagnose Sleep Apnea
At Modern American Dentistry, we utilize a sleep study from an accredited sleep specialist in order to diagnose sleep apnea correctly. The sleep study may involve a compact machine you take home that measures your breathing and oxygen levels during the night to look for signs of sleep apnea. In some cases, we may recommend staying overnight in a sleep clinic.
As with any dental procedure, we provide a thorough evaluation to determine if an oral health condition exists before we move forward with a treatment plan. If you have been waking up for no reason during your sleep, constantly feel tired even after a full night’s rest, and frequently have a sore throat in the morning—let your Woodland Hills or Manhattan Beach dentist know so we can help treat your condition.
Who Is Likely to Have Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, from women, children, and men; however, it is seen more frequently in men. Smokers may develop sleep apnea more often than non-smokers, other things to look for are a history of sleep disorders in your family, or if you’re overweight. We recommend discussing sleep apnea with your physician or dentist if you continuously snore during sleep, often wake up with headaches, have difficulty focusing at work or remembering, or suffer from chronic fatigue.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, we can help you manage or avoid it with some lifestyle changes:
- Avoid drinking coffee or eating a big meal before you sleep
- Exercise consistently and regularly
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine to lose weight
- Avoid irregular sleep hours
- Alcohol and sleeping pills may relax your throat muscles and lead to snoring
Once we have your results from the sleep study and have diagnosed you with sleep apnea, we may recommend continuous positive air pressure therapy (CPAP) to allow patients to breathe regularly throughout the night. CPAP therapy utilizes a special machine that delivers a constant stream of oxygen to a face mask that fits over the patient's mouth and nose while they sleep.
While CPAP works for many people, others might find the face mask uncomfortable, or find the noise from the machine to be too loud. Still, others may travel frequently and find it challenging to move freely with the CPAP machine.
Our sleep apnea dentist has extensive training and knowledge in sleep medicine, and we can offer patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea an alternative known as a custom oral appliance. Each patient's condition is specific to their individual lifestyle, stressors, and face shape, which reflects in their customized and unique oral appliances.
Some patients may choose to combine several different therapies and appliances to overcome their snoring affliction. At Modern American Dentistry, we work closely with our patients and their sleep doctors to design the most effective treatment plan for their unique needs.
Oral Appliance Therapy for OSA
Oral appliances designed to treat OSA gently move the lower jaw forward as you sleep, opening your airway to allow the free flow of oxygen without interruption. We design custom oral appliances for our patients to ensure the best fit and most favorable outcome. Our patients love this alternative and quickly get used to wearing their oral appliances while they sleep.
At Modern American Dentistry, we may combine one or multiple sleep therapies to provide our patients with long-lasting and comfortable results.
The Vitamin D and Sleep Disorder Connection
Dr. Gould and Dr. Adorjan work closely with a neurologist by the name of Stasha Gominak. Dr. Gominak believes that sleep apnea is caused by vitamin D deficiency, as are many other sleep disorders. We are unique in treating OSA with a combination of opening the airway and treating the underlying cause, vitamin D deficiency. We, along with Dr. Gominak, are the only doctors using this method of treatment because it is so new and advanced. Combining oral appliance therapy and vitamin D therapy has provided our patients with outstanding results. Our treatment improves the overall quality of our patients’ sleep instead of just applying a band-aid to the symptoms – we treat the root cause of your sleep apnea.
For more information about the vitamin D and sleep connection visit http://drgominak.com/vitamin-d-hormone.html.
Are You Waking Up Tired?
We know that sleep is essential for our overall health, but it's necessary to understand what happens to your body when it does not get the rest it needs. You may find it difficult to function in your daily life; even concentrating becomes a challenge, and your work may suffer for it. Being unable to rest fully can alter your mood and even lead to depression—affecting friendships and relationships. Even worse, you may find yourself frustrated at yourself for being exhausted by the afternoon, even though you commit yourself to a full night's sleep every night.
Chronic fatigue is not a joke! Contact our Woodland Hills or Manhattan Beach dental offices to schedule a sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Gould or Dr. Adorjan. We have helped hundreds of patients achieve a better night’s sleep with effective OSA therapy. Everyone deserves to have a good night’s rest, let us help you!