California Dental Sleep Solutions
Sleep Apnea Dentist located in San Jose, CA
Treating sleep apnea can require expensive and bulky apparatus to provide positive pressure as you sleep. However, for many, this equipment can cause sleep problems on its own. At California Dental Sleep Solutions in San Jose, California, Jaclyn Martinez, DDS, is an expert sleep apnea dentist who offers effective and affordable alternatives if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. To learn more, call the office, or book an appointment online today.
Sleep Apnea Q & A
What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing interruptions in breathing. The blockage is usually caused by soft tissue in the mouth and throat relaxing and collapsing, leading to snoring. However, OSA becomes a problem when the airway is completely blocked, preventing oxygen from reaching the brain. The brain then sends a signal to wake the person up briefly to open the airway, but the person may not remember waking. This can happen hundreds of times per night and can lead to fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and other health problems like hypertension, heart disease and stroke. OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and can be treated with custom oral appliances prescribed by a qualified sleep specialist.
Can you provide more details on obstructed sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of upper airway obstruction during sleep. The most common symptom of OSA is loud and persistent snoring, although it is not always present. Other symptoms include choking or gasping during sleep, frequent awakenings to urinate, morning headache, dry mouth or sore throat upon waking, and excessive daytime sleepiness. OSA can also lead to long-term health consequences, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even death if left untreated. Studies estimate that approximately 22 million people in the United States have OSA, with 80% of cases remaining undiagnosed. While there are different types of sleep apnea, OSA is the most common and can be diagnosed by a sleep specialist and treated with a variety of methods including custom oral appliances, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and lifestyle changes.
What is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) vs Obstructed Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). Both types of sleep apnea are characterized by disruptions in breathing during sleep, but the causes and symptoms of each type are different.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two types and is caused by a physical blockage of the airway. This blockage can occur when the muscles in the throat relax and collapse during sleep, preventing the flow of air. Symptoms of OSA include loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. OSA is often treated with lifestyle changes such as weight loss and positional therapy, as well as with devices such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines or custom oral appliances.
Central sleep apnea, on the other hand, is caused by a failure of the brain to properly control the muscles that regulate breathing. This type of sleep apnea is less common than OSA, but it can be more serious and requires prompt medical attention. Symptoms of CSA include pauses in breathing during sleep, and morning headaches. Unlike OSA, CSA is treated with medications, oxygen therapy, and sometimes surgery.
In summary, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a physical blockage of the airway and is treated with lifestyle changes and devices, while central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to control breathing and is treated with medication, oxygen therapy and surgery. It is important to consult a sleep specialist if you experience any symptoms of sleep apnea to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.
What are the symptoms of Obstructed Sleep Apnea?
Loud snoring is perhaps the most obvious symptom of sleep apnea, and it may make breathing problems obvious to others. However, some people can snore without the breathing issues of apnea occurring. If you snore and have other sleep apnea symptoms, then it may indicate that you’re affected. As well as snoring and obvious breathing issues, these signs include:
- Sudden awakening accompanied by shortness of breath
- Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
- A headache upon waking in the morning
- Sleepiness through the day despite a full night of sleep
Patients may also experience mood and attention issues as well as trouble staying asleep.
Evidence of worn tooth surfaces, such as by clenching or grinding, is a possible indication of patients at risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Dentists are the first line of defense in screening and referring patients with dental signs of of OSA.
How is obstructed sleep apnea treated by an oral appliance?
Studies suggest that oral appliances can reduce the rate of cardiovascular mortality in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea who are not tolerant of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment.
One aspect of obstructive sleep apnea that many people experience is the shift of the lower jaw backwards as they lie down and relax. This motion allows the soft tissue to collapse more completely, potentially blocking the airway. This blockage may be prevented by preventing the shift of the lower jaw.
Dental appliances, similar to athletic mouth guards, can be fabricated to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep, allowing for easier passage of air. Dr. Martinez fits patients for custom-made oral appliances using dental impressions.
The completed appliance holds the lower jaw in a forward position while the patient sleeps, as though they were upright. If a sleep study physician indicates that an oral appliance may be beneficial, it can be a fast and easy solution for a better night's sleep.
If you are experiencing sleep apnea, contact California Dental Sleep Solutions today or book an appointment online with the team.