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What is Sleep Apnea and How Can a Dentist Help?

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Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized during the sleep period by frequent interruptions in breathing. These interruptions, referred to as apneas, are caused by the collapse of the airway soft tissue, preventing oxygen from accessing the lungs. Weak airway muscles, a large tongue, obesity and other factors can cause breathing to collapse and obstruct airway tissue.

About 10 percent of the world’s adult population suffers from sleep apnea, and approximately 90 percent have not been identified. And one out of five adults in the United States has at least moderate obstructive sleep apnea. That ‘s important because a severe disorder is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea interrupts the cycle of sleep which can have a dramatic effect on energy, mental capacity and long-term health. In certain cases, sleep apnea can be fatal if left untreated.

The main types of sleep Apnea are:

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This happens as it relaxes the muscles in the back of your throat. The soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the throat sidewalls and the tongue are supported by these muscles.

Your airway narrows or closes when you breathe in, as the muscles relax. You can’t get enough air, which can lower the blood oxygen level. Your brain detects your inability to breathe and rouses you from sleep temporarily so that your airway can be reopened. Usually, this awakening is so brief that you do not recall it. Maybe you’ll snort, cough or gasp. Per hour, all night, this pattern will repeat itself five to 30 times or more, impairing your ability to enter the deep , restful stages of sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea

When your brain fails to send signals to your breathing muscles, this less common form of sleep apnea happens. This implies that for a brief time, you make no effort to breathe. You may wake up with breathlessness, or you may have a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep.

Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also referred to as central sleep apnea treatment-emergent, which happens when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.


The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making it difficult to determine which type you have. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:

  • Loud snoring

  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be reported by another person

  • Gasping for air during sleep

  • Awakening with a dry mouth

  • Morning headache

  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

  • Difficulty paying attention while awake

  • Irritability

Dentists Can Treat Sleep Apnea

Did you know that many dentists are qualified to help treat snoring and sleep apnea and to control it? Dental sleep medicine is a field of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance treatment, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), to treat sleep-disordered breathing. To find the best care for each patient, dentists work together with physicians. The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is a dentists’ technical society that supports patients by using oral appliance therapy to control snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

The use of oral appliance therapy for treating obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in adults was pioneered by dentists. A system worn in the mouth only during sleep is an oral appliance. Like an orthodontic retainer, it suits. By keeping the jaw in a forward position, a custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective therapy that prevents the airway from collapsing.

For obstructive sleep apnea ( OSA) and snoring, oral appliance therapy is an efficient treatment. Oral appliance treatment, supplied by a certified dentist, uses a custom-fit kit worn only during sleep. Therapy with oral appliances helps preserve an open, unobstructed airway.

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Are You Looking for a Sleep Apnea Specialist You Can Trust?

With over 30 years of professional experience helping patients renew and beautifying their smiles, Balfour Dental continues to be the preferred dental office for families in Brentwood California and the surrounding communities of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay and beyond. Dr. Rayani and Dr. Siao both have many different certifications, including Invisalign Certification, Implant Dentistry, Sleep Apnea Treatment, Cerec CAD-CAM Restorations, Neuromuscular Dentistry, and Implants respectively. Our dental office is locally owned and operated by Dr. Dimple Rayani and Dr. Sien Siao, two professionals with vast experience in Implant Retained Denture treatments as well as in general dentistry.  If you are looking to renew your smile, contact Balfour Dental today!

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