Sleep Apnea Treatment in Irvine, CA
Sleep apnea is a serious health condition affecting more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It’s also estimated that up to 90% of the people who suffer from this condition are undiagnosed. Unfortunately, while people may recognize that they snore and are constantly tired throughout the day, they may not realize that these are the signs of a condition that could actually be threatening their lives.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When a patient with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sleeps, their airway becomes blocked, causing them to stop breathing (the word apnea literally means “without breath”). These periods of not breathing last 10 seconds or longer and occur over and over throughout the night. A person with severe sleep apnea could experience hundreds of these episodes in a single night.
The signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, gasping, and even choking noises as the body rouses itself in order to resume breathing. Although the patient may not remember them in the morning, these repeated waking episodes prevent the deep sleep that each one of us needs.
When sleep apnea is left untreated, both the patient’s quality of life and health suffer. Daytime fatigue and sleepiness have a detrimental effect on productivity at work and in personal relationships and can even pose a danger because of the risk of falling asleep while driving. Sleep apnea also leads to additional serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and depression.
What Are the Causes of OSA?
Your nerves, muscles, and other parts of your body interact in a complex manner. In some individuals, these interactions don’t work correctly, and the airway is able to close while they are sleeping. As soon as the brain registers that oxygen levels are dropping, a signal is sent to wake the body in order for breathing to resume.
How Can a Dentist Help?
While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is an effective treatment for sleep apnea and often one of the first prescribed by sleep specialists, nearly half of all patients are unable to tolerate this therapy – for a variety of reasons.
Dr. Robertson has a great deal of experience and training in the use of customized mouthpieces to treat sleep apnea. These oral appliances reposition your tongue to keep it from falling back and hold your jaw in a slightly different position. This effect stops the airway from closing and prevents the tongue from blocking the airway.
Dr. Robertson is happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your needs, your condition, your lifestyle, and your preferences. If CPAP therapy is not an option for you or if you’d simply like to learn more about oral appliances and what they can do for patients with sleep apnea, please call our Irvine dental office today at 714-838-7272 to schedule your free consultation.