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Sleep Apnea Therapy

Man in dental chair talking to dentistSleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. It causes patients to stop breathing for ten or more seconds at a time 100s of times during sleep. If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you may not have considered visiting a dentist for your treatment, but actually, a dentist may be just the doctor you need. At Smile Fit, we offer Yuba City dental patients sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment. If you want to find out more, please contact our caring dentistry team to schedule your sleep apnea consultation today.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Man in dental chair talking to dentistSleep apnea is a cessation of breathing for ten or more seconds at a time. There are two forms of this sleep disorder. Central sleep apnea is the much rarer of the two, and it occurs when the brain fails to trigger the body to breathe during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, as is implied by the name, occurs when the airway is physically blocked.

How do I know I have Sleep Apnea?

Doctor recording man’s snoring with microphone comedicThe only way to know for certain that you have a sleep apnea is to complete a sleep study. These diagnostic tests will let our team know whether or not you are experiencing apnea events, how many occur, their duration, and the cause. We work with a provider who conducts at-home sleep testing. These home tests are less sensitive than those conducted in a sleep clinic, but they are typically effective in screening for sleep apnea as well as teeth grinding and clenching. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed due to the wide range of symptoms, so please let our team know right away if you notice any of the following warning signs:

How Can a Dentist Help?

snoring man with animation of airway on profileDentists are highly trained in the inner workings of oral and facial structures, and that includes the airway. Our team uses this training to help patients with obstructive sleep apnea breathe deeply and sleep soundly, using oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances shift the jaw forward. This adjustment places pressure on the throat muscles, which tense clearing the airway, so patients are able to breathe without obstruction through the night.

Will Oral Appliance Therapy Work for Me?

woman with CPAP nasal maskMany patients experience significant improvement in the quality and quantity of sleep using oral appliance therapy. Patients who use CPAP systems often find themselves unable to adjust to the sounds and sensations of this treatment. Oral appliance therapy is comfortable, portable, and effective. We often recommend oral appliance therapy for patients who:

Is Oral Appliance Therapy Better Than CPAP?

Not for everyone. Patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea typically respond well to treatment using an oral appliance. For patients who have more severe obstructive sleep apnea or central sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy may not be effective. Patients with central sleep apnea will be referred to a sleep doctor for treatment. This form of sleep apnea is caused by a neurological failure, and it can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. For patients who have more severe obstructive sleep apnea, we may use a combination of oral appliance and CPAP therapies. This combined therapy is often better for patients who experience CPAP intolerance. There is no bulky full nose and mouth face mask. Instead, they will simply need to wear a nasal air mask and their oral appliance. By combining therapies, patients can wear this smaller mask, and they can usually use lower settings on their CPAP system. Combined therapy is often much more comfortable and effective for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea.

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