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 at your 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. Moeckel has received advanced training in treating sleep apnea from the Sleep Performance Institute in Minneapolis and offers an alternative solution. Often the problem that sleep apnea patients have is that their dental arches are too constricted. Using orthodontics, if your arches can be expanded, the problem can go away. And if this orthodontic treatment is accomplished with Invisalign, it can be done easily and comfortably.
Another option is to use an oral appliance that gently advances your lower jaw during sleep, opening your airway further. While it doesn’t offer a permanent solution, it will usually relieve the symptoms. See a picture of one of these appliances on the right.
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 to schedule an appointment, or fill out this form to have us call you.