Treating Sleep Apnea in Pleasant Hill

For individuals suffering from sleep apnea, a good night’s rest can be hard to come by.  Not only does the constant cessation of breathing disrupt sleep, but it can also lead to a number of secondary health consequences, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cardiac arrest. Identifying and treating this condition is incredibly important. By collaborating with your physician, Pleasant Hill dentist Dr. Kevin Dowd can help you overcome sleep apnea complications through oral appliance treatment. 

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea refers to persistently interrupted breathing that occurs overnight when airflow is blocked or when the brain fails to tell the muscles to breathe. Once breathing stops, the brain partially awakes the patient in order to get them to breathe. As this process happens repetitively throughout the night, patients with sleep apnea have a difficult time getting a full night’s rest.

As sleep apnea only occurs overnight, many individuals may not be aware that they are suffering from this breathing condition. Often, partners or family members that can hear the patient’s breathing patterns are the first to notice the characteristic heavy snoring and staggered breathing to identify that there may be an underlying issue. 

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Traditionally, the standard for treating sleep apnea is through continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). Patients are given a mask attached to a machine which continuously pushes a flow of air through passages, preventing tissue collapse and keeping the airway open. However, given the bulky quality of the machine and mask, many patients find CPAP machines difficult to use consistently. As a result, many may neglect using the machine and sleep without, exacerbating their condition and heightening their risk of developing additional health problems.

However, more and more patients are finding oral appliances to be a comfortable and highly effective method of alleviating their sleep apnea symptoms without relying solely on the CPAP machine. 

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Designed to comfortably fit within the mouth, sleep apnea oral appliances often fall into two categories:

Mandibular advancement splints push the lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing airway collapse
Tongue retaining devices which use a suction bulb to hold the tongue forward to prevent blocking the airway. 

Both forms are small, comfortable, and highly effective when it comes to maintaining airflow overnight. Given the mobility of this alternative sleep apnea treatment, many patients find oral appliances to be easier to wear overnight, leading to greater treatment compliance. For some patients with severe cases of sleep apnea, oral appliances are used with CPAP machines to ensure effective treatment. 

Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy in Pleasant Hill

Our sleep apnea dentist utilizes innovative materials to take impressions of your mouth. These high-tech impressions are then used to create your customized oral appliance. To ensure consistent sleep apnea care, Dr. Dowd works with your physician to develop an effective and feasible treatment plan is developed that addresses your unique case of sleep apnea. 

For more information about treating sleep apnea with oral appliances in Pleasant Hill, contact Dr. Dowd and his dental team today.