Dana Point Sleep Apnea Treatment - Sleep Apnea Symptoms - Snoring, Sleepiness and More
Dr. Godino is one of the foremost dental experts on sleep disorders in the south county area. Over the past three or so years he has completed numerous courses on the subject as well as a mini-residency in Dental Sleep Medicine from UCLA School of Dentistry. He has aided in the diagnosis and treatment of many patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is happy to have improved the lives of his patients both in quality and longevity of their lives.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pausing or stopping of breathing during sleep. The term sleep apnea is derived from the Greek etymology meaning “without breath”. Breathing pauses can last anywhere from several seconds to minutes, and happen as often as 30 times or more per hour. Ongoing disrupted breathing causes an imbalance between the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, as not enough carbon dioxide is exiting and not enough oxygen is entering the body.
Sensing this imbalance, the brain sends a message to the body, telling it to wake up to restart breathing the process. People with sleep apnea will partially awake as they struggle to breathe, and this is often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations. Because people with sleep apnea don’t always completely awake during the episodes, they are often unaware they have a sleeping disorder and it can remain undiagnosed.
There are two main types of this disorder: central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing muscles, and obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when air cannot flow through the nose or mouth even though the body is still trying to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea is far more prevalent and can be easily treated by our Dana Point sleep apnea dentist.
Obstructive sleep apnea is identified by soft tissues in the throat collapsing into the airway and the tongue rolling back, stopping breathing. Common obstructive sleep apnea symptoms can include severe early morning headaches, sleepiness in the daytime, and insomnia. Fortunately, Dr. Godino is equipped with the necessary technology and expertise to treat sleep apnea in several different ways.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you can schedule a consultation to inquire about our Dana Point sleep apnea treatment. When you visit the office for your consultation, there will be a few forms to fill out. Once this is complete, you will be referred out to a specialist who will conduct a sleep study. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will be sent back to our office where we discuss the multiple treatment options available.
If your obstructive sleep apnea is moderate to severe, we recommend CPAP ventilation therapy. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure; this system uses pressurized air to keep blockage from occurring while sleeping. If your obstructive sleep apnea is mild to moderate, you may opt for a dental appliance, which we create for you in our office. This appliance repositions the jaw and pulls it forward, opening the airway behind the tongue. If neither of our sleep apnea treatment options work for you and you are still experiencing blockage, you might require surgery.
Reasons for treating sleep apnea:
It is very important to seek medical attention if sleep apnea is suspected. A sufferer can completely stop numerous times per hour, and this can quickly turn into a deadly situation. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue lying at the back of the patient’s throat collapses into the airway. The tongue then falls towards the back of the throat which tightens the blockage and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs.
The problem worsens when the chest region, diaphragm, and abdomen fight for air. The efforts they make to obtain vital oxygen only cause a further tightening of the blockage. The patient must arouse from deep sleep to tense the tongue and remove the soft tissue from the airway.
Because sleep apnea causes carbon dioxide levels to skyrocket in the blood and oxygen levels to decrease, the heart has to pump harder and faster to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Sleep apnea patients can technically “die” many times each night. Sleep apnea has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by the dentist at the earliest opportunity.
What does sleep apnea treatment involve?
Initially, Dr. Godino will want to conduct tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment. As our Dana Point sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Godino can offer many different treatment options which depend largely on the exact diagnosis and the health of the patient. He may advise the patient to halt some habits that aggravate sleep apnea such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and tranquilizer use, or even use a device to alter the sleeping position.
Sleeping masks were traditionally used to keep the patient’s airways open while they slept, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. Dental devices that gently tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.
If you are interested in learning more about our Dana Point sleep apnea treatment, contact our office today.