Sleep Apnea

Dental Treatment Can Resolve Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a common condition that can be serious. Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person's breathing intermittently stops while he or she is sleeping because of airway blockage. It can also occur when the brain fails to send signals to the muscles that are responsible for breathing to tell them to breathe. The treatment that you might receive will depend on the type that you have and its severity.

Sleep apnea can take two forms, including central and obstructive sleep apnea. Both types can result in pauses in your breathing lasting from a few seconds to minutes at a time. When your breathing restarts, you will typically make a gasping sound.

Most people learn that they might have sleep apnea because of family members telling them about their disturbed breathing while they are asleep. Sleep apnea symptoms can include the following:

  • Snoring
  • Breathing stops and starts while sleeping
  • Fatigue during the day
  • Waking with a dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Depression

Why Treat Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnear could be a dangerious sleep discorder that must be treated effectively. Do you snore while sleeping? Do you feel tired after a full nigh, 7-8 hours of sleep? Did you know sleep apnea could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke?

sleep apnea treatment los angeles

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Learn More About Sleep Apnea

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In this type, the throat muscles relax excessively during sleep, causing your airway to be blocked. When your airway is obstructed, your breathing will momentarily stop before the obstruction is cleared and you begin breathing again. People who have this form of sleep apnea may stop and start breathing multiple times during the night and are likely to snore loudly.

Cost of sleep apnea treatment

The cost of your sleep apnea treatment will depend on the type of treatment that you need. If you need an oral appliance, the average cost ranges from $1,800 to $2,000. This cost includes all of your visits, fittings, adjustments, and follow-up visits. If a CPAP machine is prescribed to you, it may be partially covered by your insurance. Surgical procedures should likewise be covered by your insurance, minus any deductible that you might have.

What is central sleep apnea?

In people who have central sleep apnea, their brains do not send proper signals to the muscles to tell them to start breathing. As a result, your breathing may start and stop multiple times during the night. This condition is less common than the obstructive type of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea causes

Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by several things, including the following:

  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Narrow airway caused by a structural abnormality
  • Obesity

When this type of sleep apnea is caused by enlarged tonsils or excessive tissue, the tissue or tonsils can be removed so that you can breathe normally while you sleep. If a structural abnormality causes your airway to be too narrow, Dr. Vafa might treat it surgically.

The central form of sleep apnea might not cause you to snore, and you might be unaware that you have sleep apnea until the other symptoms of the condition become obvious. The cause of this form of the disease is signaling problems from the brain instead of an obstruction in your airway.

The causes of the central form of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Conditions affecting the spine
  • Radiation treatment
  • Opioid drugs
  • Stiffened throat muscles due to aging

This type of sleep apnea may be treated with wearing breathing assistance devices at night and by treating the underlying conditions that are causing it.

Importance of treating sleep apnea

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, you need to get your condition diagnosed and treated. Sleep apnea causes more problems than snoring. If you treat the condition, you will be able to enjoy a more restful sleep at night and to feel less fatigue during the day. With untreated obstructive or central sleep apnea, the brain is constantly trying to work to restart your breathing. This prevents you from being able to enter into the deeper phases of sleep, which can leave you tired. Treating sleep apnea is also better for your partner so that he or she can sleep better at night. Untreated sleep apnea has been associated with several conditions, including the following:

  • Heart failure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart arrythmias
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes

By treating sleep apnea, you can reduce the risks of developing these serious medical conditions.

What are the risks of allowing sleep apnea to go untreated?

In addition to the previously listed serious medical conditions that are linked to untreated sleep apnea, there are some other risks of failing to treat your condition. When you do not get restful sleep, you are likelier to have accidents at work or while you are driving. Untreated sleep apnea can also cause complications with surgery and medication, and it can result in performance deficits at your job or school. Finally, untreated sleep apnea has been linked to an early death.

How to treat sleep apnea

When you meet with Dr. Vafa at his Beverly Hills office, he will examine to determine the type and severity of your sleep apnea. He will talk to you about the options that you have, including both surgical and non-surgical sleep apnea options. He will then talk to you about the treatment plan that will help to resolve your condition.

Non-surgical sleep apnea options in Los Angeles

If your sleep apnea is moderate to severe, Dr. Vafa may prescribe a continuous positive airway pressurizer or CPAP machine for you to wear at night. This is a breathing mask that is worn over the nose that provides a continuous flow of pressurized air into your throat, which helps to prevent an obstruction from occurring.

Oral dental devices are sleep apnea oral devices that are made by Dr. Vafa to fit your mouth. These help to treat sleep apnea and to stop snoring that is unrelated to the condition. Dr. Vafa may take molds of your mouth and teeth to make a custom appliance that will fit correctly.

Surgical options for sleep apnea in Beverly Hills

If a CPAP machine does not resolve your sleep apnea, Dr. Vafa might recommend surgery. If you have excess tissue that causes severe snoring and that blocks your airway, a UPPP procedure might be recommended. This is an outpatient procedure that Dr. Vafa performs in his office using light sedation. The excess tissue is removed so that your airway will be wider, allowing you to breathe at night and for your snoring to stop.

If you have a structural abnormality in your maxillofacial skeleton, Dr. Vafa may perform orthognathic surgery. This procedure involves moving the lower and upper jaw in a precise way to increase your airway's size.

Dr. Vafa explaining dental question with his patient

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