Do you wake up tired in the morning after seemingly sleeping all night? Do you doze off during the day when you are working or even driving the car? Do your friends tell you that you appear to space out during the day or are listless or even uncharacteristically grumpy lately? Does your snoring shake the whole house? If you answered yes to any of these questions you may be suffering from a medical condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a breathing problem not a sleep problem but it affects sleep by continually waking the person into consciousness during the night to catch their breath. Anyone who stops breathing for at least 10 seconds while unconscious and then suddenly startle themselves awake can be diagnosed with sleep apnea. Many suffers wake up like this all night long. There are two types of sleep apnea, one of which is caused by confused signals going from the brain to the muscles indicating that the problem is in the nervous system and the more common type that is caused by an obstruction of the airways – obstructive sleep apnea (SA). Dr. Paul Grin, DDS, MPH, APC is an orofacial specialist who provides obstructive sleep apnea treatment in Long Beach.
The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is a problem with your airways and the muscles that control the flow of air through them. Often the problem originates with the position of your jaw, tongue and the back of your throat during sleep. The standard sleep apnea treatment in Long Beach for obstructive is the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine that provides oxygen directly into the airways through the use of a mask that goes over the nose and mouth. While CPAP does relieve the symptoms and night time breathing pressures of most OSA sufferers, it can be extremely annoying to use because of the large mask and hose, it is hard to clean, harder to travel with even with new smaller models and is annoying to whomever else is in the bedroom as the loud snoring it cures. There are also many physical symptoms of CPAP intolerance including nasal congestion, sinus irritations, headaches, claustrophobia, and anxiety. Many OSA patients don’t like using their CPAPs and some just refuse to use it.
An alternative sleep apnea treatment in Long Beach entails the use of dental sleep medicine. Our orofacial doctor, one of a very few in the area, can prescribe and custom fabricate for each patient an intra-oral device to treat OSA. Our practice has developed an oral appliance called a mandibular advancement device, which is a small acrylic appliance that fits over the upper and lower teeth and slightly advances the lower jaw moving the back of the tongue forward and opening the airwaves. This device unblocks the airwaves, reduces sleep apnea and increases breathing. The device is small and extremely easy to use as well as much more comfortable than CPAP machines, makes no noise and is easy to clean and travel with. The device is worn like a night guard or orthodontic retainer. OSA is a serious condition that can ruin your life if allowed to go untreated, make an appointment with our doctor to get tested for OSA and start treatment.