878 Walnut St San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

The Facts on Sleep Apnea

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The Facts on Sleep Apnea

We hear a lot about sleep apnea these days, but what exactly is it? Apnea is the Latin word for without breath. Sleep apnea occurs when you go without breathing for any period of time while sleeping.

There are two different forms of sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common and is defined by the collapse of the airway during sleep. This results in one going without oxygen while sleeping. Central sleep apnea is an absence of airflow and inspiratory effort while sleeping due to irregularity in the brain’s control of breathing.

The Big Picture of Sleep Apnea:
-Snoring is a major warning sign
-40% of adults over 40 snore
-Approximately 30 million Americans have some form of obstructive sleep apnea
-Over twice as many men are affected than women
-Less than 10% of OSA sufferers have been diagnosed

Many know how important sleep is, but what does it offer other than rest and recovery? Other important functions of sleep include hormone regulation, memory and immune system function.

When one has sleep apnea, common indicators include:
-snoring
-fatigue
-high blood pressure
-clenching/grinding of teeth
-morning headaches
-acid reflux
-impotence
-social problems
-and memory loss

If left untreated, sleep apnea can have some scary consequences. These include diabetes, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, organ failure and cancer.

You think you have sleep apnea or your spouse is keeping you awake with their snoring…so now what do you do? Luckily, our office now offers easy at-home sleep studies. These clue us in to which type of sleep apnea we are dealing with. Patients with mild to moderate OSA may find relief with an oral appliance. Oral appliances work wonderfully for these patients by moving the lower jar forward, which in turn moves the tongue forward and prevents collapse of the airway. For those with more severe OSA, the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the gold standard. Many patients prefer oral appliances to CPAPS, as CPAPS tend to be more inconvenient, loud, embarrassing, uncomfortable and can leak air, which leads to dry mouth.

If you think you have sleep apnea, here are the first steps you should take:
-See your dentist for evaluation.
-Get issued a home sleep study.
-Medical doctor will diagnose severity of OSA based on sleep report.
-Anything less than severe OSA or patients who are non compliant with a CPAP can benefit from a dental appliance.
-There are many types of oral appliances and we will work with the yout to find the best one and
adjust it for maximum comfort and benefit.

Want to know more? Feel free to contact us for an easy consultation at (805) 541-0550 and get on your way to better sleep!

Office Hours
  • Monday7:00am - 7:00pm
  • Tuesday7:00am - 7:00pm
  • Wednesday7:00am - 7:00pm
  • Thursday7:00am - 5:30pm
  • Friday7:00am - 2:00pm
  • Saturday8:00am - 12:00pm
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New patients are always welcome at SLO Smiles. Evening and weekend appointments are available to make your busy life easier. Our friendly San Luis Obispo dental team looks forward to meeting you!