San Francisco dentist helps many patients who have obstructive sleep apnea
It is estimated that more than 22 million Americans suffer from the debilitation and life shortening effects of sleep apnea. Fortunately, help for this serious condition may be as close as the dentist’s office. Dental therapy has had a role in managing obstructive sleep apnea since it was discovered that appliances used to enhance craniofacial development were found to help open the airway. Dr. Leo Arellano and his skilled team have played a large role in helping many people in San Francisco, Daly City, and the neighboring areas, who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea to get the restorative sleep they need.
Understanding obstructive sleep apnea
Air passes through the upper airway (mouth, nose, and throat) on its way to the lungs. The soft area at the back of the throat has a tendency to collapse inward when a person breathes, but the muscles dilate (widen) keeping the airway open. Abnormalities or interference with this process causes air turbulence, and in some cases, the tissues collapse, blocking the airway temporarily, causing apnea. Five or more of these episodes per hour of sleep is considered obstructive sleep apnea.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue even after eight hours of sleep, dozing while reading or watching TV, or even while stopped at a traffic light
- Loud chronic snoring
- Pauses in breathing during sleep as witnessed by a housemate
- Morning sore throat, dry mouth, or headache
- Impaired emotional and mental functions such as irritability and difficulty concentrating
Causes and risk factors
Although there are many causes and risk factors for this condition, some of the most common are:
- Structural abnormalities in the airway, skull, or face, or a large neck
- Enlarged tongue or tonsils
- Weakness in the airway muscles
- Gender, men are more likely to develop this disorder than women
- Age, adults 40 to 60 are the most common group to develop the disorder
- Tobacco and alcohol increase the risk of the condition.
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a common and effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea; however, it has a low compliance rate due to inconvenience and discomfort. Oral appliance therapy, available from Dr. Leo Arellano is patient-friendly and effective for many who suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The device, similar to a mouth guard, supports the jaw or repositions the tongue to prevent the airway from collapsing. Call 415-881-4343 for an appointment today.