Your La Jolla Dentist Can Help with Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a concerning sleep disorder that affects millions of people today. One of the frightening statistics about this condition is that many who have it do not know it. This is because sleep apnea closely resembles snoring. However, there is one significant difference.
When a person snores, he or she is having difficulty passing air through the airway. This is often caused by constriction as the muscles around the throat relax during sleep. The telltale snoring sound is made when airflow causes soft tissues to vibrate. People with sleep apnea will make the sounds that we all know. They will also stop snoring every now and then.
Moments in which snoring stops are where the danger of sleep apnea lies. When loud snoring suddenly ceases, it is because no air is getting through the airway. These pauses may last several seconds. They are typically followed up by a choking or gasping sound, and resumed snoring. Episodes like this may occur hundreds of times a night.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Because sleep apnea is a medical condition, most people see their doctor for treatment. The standard medical treatment involves forcing the airway open with a gentle, continual flow of air. This air comes from a small machine that sits bedside. You could liken it to an air compressor. From here, air goes through a hose and mask, and into the nose and/or mouth. In theory, this method, called CPAP therapy, looks promising. The problem is, compliance tends to be rather low.
Dr. Doan offers an alternative solution for sleep apnea patients: oral appliance therapy. The custom-fit appliance may be made of pliable plastic or harder acrylic. This fixture fits comfortably into the mouth, and maintains airflow by gently placing the jaw into proper position. With the lower jaw in a slightly forward position, the airway remains open.
Sleep apnea can affect your sleep and thus your quality of life. See how oral appliance therapy from your La Jolla dentist can help you get the rest you need. Call (858) 452-1504.