Sleep Apnea in West Hollywood

Sleep apnea’s a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. 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.  

Once the brain senses the imbalance, it sends a message to the body to wake up and restart the breathing process. Often accompanied by loud snoring or choking sensations, people with sleeping disabilities will partially awake as they struggle to breathe.  The reality is, sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea can remain undiagnosed for the simple fact that we are unaware of it.  

The two main types of sleep apnea:

1) Central Sleep Apnea – This occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the breathing  

2) Obstructive Sleep Apnea –  This 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 easily treatable by the dentist.  

When do you see the dentist?

It is very important to seek medical attention if sleeping disabilities are suspected. A person can completely stop breathing 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 patients 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.

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 has been linked to a series of serious heart-related conditions, and should be investigated by the dentist at the earliest opportunity.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea 

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At your consultation visit, Dr. Shouhed will conduct a series of tests in order to investigate, diagnose, and pinpoint a suitable treatment.

There are different treatment options which depend largely on the exact diagnosis and the health of the patient. Two of these options include: An involved surgery of the back of the throat, which requires several weeks of healing and down time; and a sleeping mask machine, which not only covers most of your face, but also makes sleeping very uncomfortable.

At Smile Perfector Dental Group, we treat the majority of sleep apnea cases with The Sleep Apnea Corrective Appliance. Two comfortable thermoplastic trays for your upper and lower teeth are custom molded and fitted, with an elastic band attached at the sides of the trays. The gentle pressure of the bands slightly brings the lower jaw forward  in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage, allowing you to sleep and breathe comfortably. These dental devices are gentle, easy to wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries.