It may surprise you to learn that your dentist can treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Nevertheless, Dr. David Eshom is highly qualified oral health expert, trained to provide appropriate care for this condition. With his personalized, conservative approach, he can improve your quality of life and your lifelong physical health.
Do you snore and suffer from poor sleep? Dr. Eshom can help you determine whether you have the night-time breathing disorder known as sleep apnea and recommend treatment. Call our San Diego dental practice today at 858-455-9151 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eshom.
For most cases of OSA, Dr. Eshom will provide a custom-made oral appliance. This device can improve your breathing while you sleep, allowing you to enjoy a full night’s rest. Many patients find our personalized care is often more effective than bulky CPAP machines or other more invasive treatments. Best of all, the appliance will take effect immediately, meaning you can enjoy a better night’s sleep the first day that you wear your device.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
There are two types of sleep apnea. Some patients suffer from central sleep apnea (CSA), which can only be treated by a neurologist. Dr. Eshom treats obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a far more common disorder. This condition occurs when your breathing becomes blocked during the night. OSA can affect men, women, and children. However, the condition is more likely to impact overweight individuals and men over the age of 40.
Although your muscles naturally relax while you are asleep, when you have OSA they become too slack, causing the soft palate and throat muscles droop and block the flow of air. The tongue also may fall back into the throat, causing snoring and restricted air flow. When your breathing stops, you wake up, although most people are not fully aware when this happens. Depending on the severity of your condition, you could wake up hundreds of times each night. These repeated interruptions to your sleep cycle dramatically reduce the quality of your sleep, resulting in many potential health problems.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of OSA, since air must squeeze past the soft tissues in your throat. In some cases, you may be unaware of your snoring, but it can be very disruptive for your spouse! It is important to note that snoring is not always a symptom of sleep apnea. Nevertheless, it is important to seek treatment if you snore, as it may be a symptom of another condition.
Chronic exhaustion is another telltale sign of sleep apnea. If you have OSA, you may wake up exhausted, despite a full night’s rest. You may also suffer from daytime sleepiness, irritability, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Other symptoms can include chronic headaches, dry mouth, and sore throat in the morning. Chronic exhaustion is especially dangerous because it can lead to periods of microsleep during the day. When this happens, you may nod off for a few moments, and not even be aware it has happened. This is especially dangerous for anyone who drives a car or operates heavy machinery.
OSA Treatment with Dr. Eshom
When you seek OSA treatment with Dr. Eshom, he may begin by referring you to a clinic for a sleep study. At a sleep clinic, experts will measure your heart rate, oxygen levels, and breathing patterns while you sleep. They are incredibly effective at diagnosing sleep breathing disorders. Once we fully understand your condition, Dr. Eshom will usually create a mouth guard.
This device will fit comfortably over your teeth, gently pushing your lower jaw forward. In turn, this new alignment will tighten your soft tissues, so that your throat stays open as you sleep. If needed, the device can support your tongue to keep it from falling back into your throat. Oral appliances also dramatically lessen your snoring—our patients’ spouses are very grateful for that!
Dental Appliances vs. CPAP
For years, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) was the standard treatment for sleep apnea. Your doctor would provide a mask that would fit over your mouth and nose as you slept, and a machine would pump air through the mask to force your airways open. Many doctors still recommend CPAP, but a large percentage of patients find the machine uncomfortable and inconvenient, and simply can’t sleep while wearing it. Our oral appliances are more simple and convenient, so most patients easily adjust to wearing them within a few nights.
Why Sleep Apnea Treatment is Important
After you begin wearing your mouthpiece, you may notice that you feel better than you have in months, or even years. You will wake up feeling rested, and you will have more energy to enjoy the activities you love. You may even find that your work performance, social interactions, and family relationships improve as a result of your more restful nights of sleep.
OSA treatment can also have important benefits for your lifelong health. Poor sleep and poor breathing at night can increase your risk for many serious health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Fortunately, when you receive appropriate OSA care, these risks will diminish.
Find the Relief You Need
Effective sleep apnea treatment may be a phone call away. Contact our office today to learn more and to schedule your first consultation with Dr. Eshom. Call our San Diego office today at 858-455-9151.