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How Your Orthodontist Can Help With Sleep Apnea

FEELING A BIT TIRED at times during the day is completely normal, even with a good night’s sleep. Some people, however, struggle every night for a restful sleep, especially those with sleep apnea.

Did you know that one in five adults has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with 80 percent of cases going undiagnosed? This condition can disrupt your sleep and increase your risk of severe health problems.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. This can cause a person to stop breathing hundreds of times per night, immensely disrupting their sleep. Here are some indications of a problem:

  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Impaired mental or emotional functioning
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive snoring, choking or gasping during sleep
  • Awakening with dry mouth or sore throat

We Can Help

Dentists and orthodontists are often the first professionals to become aware of a potential case of OSA and many are specially trained for the treatment of sleep apnea. We are just such a practice!

Our office will refer you to a sleep center for a polysomnogram which is the only diagnostic test for sleep apnea.

Should you be found have a severe sleep apnea problem, this can often be cured by double jaw advancement. Dr. Gorczyca and the team at Gorczyca Orthodontics will work with your sleep center and orthognathic surgeons from Oakland Kaiser, Stanford, or UCSF Maxillofacial Oral Surgery departments to find the sleep apnea cure is right for you.

Oral Appliance Therapy

While the most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, oral appliance therapy that dental professionals provide is the increasingly preferred form of treatment. This is due to the high rejection rate of CPAP therapy and the fact that oral appliances are much more convenient, portable, and easy to care for.

Oral appliance therapy uses a mouth guard-like device to maintain an open, unobstructed airway while you sleep. They are typically as easy to wear as most retainers. There are two ways the oral appliance works to open up your airway:

  1. By repositioning your lower jaw, it keeps your throat muscles engaged as you sleep, preventing them from collapsing.
  2. Oral appliances can also move your tongue forward, keeping it from falling back and blocking the throat.

Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest! The quality of your sleep is extremely important to your overall health and well-being. Ask us today how you can better your life by treating sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy!

Call us at (925)757-9000 if you need more information about methods to reduce you sleep apnea.

Top image by Flickr user Marcelo Braga used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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