What is sleep apnea?
A serious sleep disorder, sleep apnea impacts your ability to breathe easily throughout the night. When you suffer from this condition, you’ll repeatedly stop breathing while you sleep, due to a partial or complete airway blockage. When you resume breathing, it will be with a loud noise, like a gasp or snort. Although you won’t be aware that you’re having trouble breathing, you also won’t experience quality sleep.
Typically, our Northridge & Woodland Hills patients discover they have an issue when their partner notices the loud gasping sounds in the middle of the night. However, there are other symptoms that can also signal a problem with sleep apnea, including:
- Excessive sleepiness and fatigue during the day
- Night sweats
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression and irritability
- Dry mouth and throat soreness upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Restlessness throughout the night
Restoring your ability to sleep and breathe easily
For many individuals with sleep apnea, the most common form of treatment is the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Machine. It’s a mask that covers your nose and mouth, and constantly increases air pressure to prevent your airways from collapsing. Although it’s a very effective way to treat sleep apnea, it can be a difficult machine for many of our Northridge patients to adjust to. As such, if you don’t like the CPAP machine, or it’s not working for you, we offer a number of alternative treatment options that can be just as effective – and considerably more comfortable – for many patients.
These alternative treatments involve customized oral devices that are worn at night and offer long-term and profound relief from sleep apnea symptoms. And, because they’re custom-made just for you, they’re extremely comfortable and fit your mouth perfectly. The most common device for sleep apnea is the mandibular advancement device, which looks like a mouth guard you’d wear when participating in sports. It snaps over your teeth, and special metal components gently shift your lower jaw forward, opening up your airways while you sleep. Another oral device that’s very effective but used less commonly is the tongue-retaining device. It works by holding the tongue in its proper place so it doesn’t block your airways and prevent you from breathing throughout the night.
Once you’ve been fitted with an oral device for sleep apnea and you’re wearing your appliance every night, you can expect to experience a considerable improvement in your sleep apnea symptoms. Not only will the snoring, gasping and loud noises throughout the night stop, but you’ll also sleep more soundly and feel more well-rested in the morning and throughout the day. Thus, your overall health will improve and your quality of life will be restored.