Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Neuromuscular Dental Sleep Medicine

Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea in Agoura Hills, California

Does your bed partner complain about you snoring? When you wake up are you still feeling tired, no matter how long you’ve been sleeping? Are you having trouble staying focused or concentrating, or having memory issues? Do you occasionally doze off, even while in the middle of doing things, such as  driving? If you find that you have any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from a  potentially fatal condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.  Obstructive sleep apnea is a disease state where your airway periodically is blocked at night,  cutting off your oxygen supply to your lungs. When your brain senses this oxgygen loss it forces you to briefly wake up to resume breathing, which prevents your body and mind from getting the rest it needs. Most often the patient is never aware that they are briefly being awakened through the night by their body struggling for oxygen.

If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea, or you  have already been diagnosed with this condition and are not wearing a CPAP machine or oral appliance therapy at night, you need treatment. At the Ziv Smile Studio, we can help you determine whether you suffer from sleep apnea and get you treatment for this serious condition. To learn more, please call or email us today.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is when your oxygen supply gets completely cut off during  sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, this occurs when the tissues of your airway, including most often the tongue, collapse, closing  off your airway. You are literally being choked by your own  tissues.

To reestablish your airway and supply your lungs with oxygen, your brain must partially awaken.  Even though you may not be aware of waking up, you may be aroused perhaps hundreds of times a  night. As a result, you are often not able to enter or stay in the proper levels of  sleep that are necessary to keep your body and brain healthy and rejuvenated.

The Pathology and Dangers of Sleep Apnea

The psychological and physical effects can be very damaging.  Because getting normal, deep sleep is critical to mental health, you may experience several of the following psychological effects, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Mood swings
  • Personality changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety or dementia
  • Lack of motivation

The physical consequences of sleep apnea can be even more serious, and may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Weight gain
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Impotence
  • Nocturnal incontinence (bed wetting)

Many of these effects stem from the cardiovascular effects  caused when your body’s systems sense that it has a insufficient oxygen supply. When deficient  in oxygen, your body triggers your heart to work harder to increase the blood  supply. This raises your blood pressure and stresses your heart. According to studies, unresolved sleep apnea may make you six times more likely to  suffer death than from any other cause.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Apnea

The first step in treating sleep apnea is determining  whether you actually suffer from the condition. If you have symptoms like  snoring, daytime sleepiness, and other symptoms mentioned above, you should take a sleep test to determine whether you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be  diagnosed at a sleep center or  an at-home sleep test we can administer can also indicate whether you may have the condition. Depending on the severity, referral to an overnight sleep clinic for a PSG (polysomnography) may be recommended.

Once diagnosed, sleep apnea is usually quite treatable. Many medical doctors recommend CPAP as a preferred treatment. CPAP uses an electric pump to force air  into your nose and throat. It can be highly effective, but about half of users find compliance with CPAP difficult due to its noise and discomfort or difficulty in taking it on trips. For  mild to moderate sleep apnea, we often recommend that people try oral appliance therapy first. It is very effective and much easier to manage.

Oral appliance therapy means you put in a mouthpiece before  going to sleep at night. This mouthpiece holds your jaw in an ideal position for keeping your airway open. A neuromuscular oral sleep appliance is placed in the ideal physiologic rest position for each individual based on their unique musculature via the use of computerized electromyographic instrumentation and TENS (Trancutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). Such neuromuscular oral appliances are more comfortable,  convenient, and effective for many patients compared to non-neuromuscular devices. They often need not require as much forward jaw advancement as conventional oral sleep apnea therapies. Neuromuscular sleep devices can in time help restore the lost muscle tonus that may be contributing to the airway closure that is contributing to or causing the apneas. To learn more about Dr. Ziv’s neuromuscular oral appliance therapy click here.

Medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes are also  treatment options that can be used in conjunction with either CPAP or oral  appliance therapy.  Surgery is rare, but referral to a Ear, Nose, and Throat physician for assessment and possible treatment of airway obstructions like deviated septum, swollen nasal turbinates, or polyps may be helpful in increasing airway.

To learn more about sleep  apnea and how we can help you, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Jonathan Ziv, DDS today.


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