Sleep Apnea

Posted by Dr. Angela An on Feb 8 2021, 03:55 PM

Getting eight full hours of sleep is something that many people can just dream of now because of today's lifestyle and working hours.  Sleep disorders like sleep apnea that involve repeated breathing interruptions during sleep further reduce the sleep quality. These breathing interruptions can occur many times each night and result from structural abnormalities or brain malfunctions. When we breathe normally, air passes through the nose, past the flexible structures in the back of the throat, including the soft palate, uvula, and tongue. When a person is awake, the muscles hold this airway open. During sleeping, these muscles relax, and the airway usually stays open. Sleep apnea happens when the upper airway and airflow are blocked either partially or completely, leading to the drop of oxygen levels in both the brain and the blood, resulting in shallow breathing or breathing pauses during sleep. 

There are two types of sleep apnea - Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a result of the blockage of the airway by the collapse of the throat tissues, thus preventing the easy flow of air in and out of the lungs. This results in frequent pauses in breathing, which the patient would be completely unaware of.

  • Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea results from the brain's malfunction while signaling the lungs to inhale air on time. As a result, the body wouldn't receive the needed amount of oxygen.

  • Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If you snore loudly or make choking and gasping sounds while sleeping, you may have sleep apnea, and these symptoms should be brought to the attention of your primary physician.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed by a physician, usually based on data collected through special portable equipment while you sleep. This equipment monitors airflow, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep, thus giving information about the quality of your sleep. This information will help your doctor to make the appropriate diagnosis.  Our doctors will also conduct an examination of your nose and throat using a small, flexible fiber-optic endoscope (thin tube)

Although you must require the help of a doctor to diagnose sleep apnea,  look for these symptoms by yourself: 

  • Frequent headaches after waking up
  • Extreme tiredness and drowsiness
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Frequent pauses in the breathing pattern
  • Lack of deep sleep due to the blockage of the airway during sleep.
  • Bruxism or clenching the jaw during sleep
  • TMJ disorder

Treatments for snoring and sleep apnea

  • If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, our doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan to help you achieve quality sleep. The treatments we offer include:
  • Lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight, limiting the consumption of alcohol, improving sleep hygiene, quitting smoking, not sleeping on your back, etc. 
  • Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) or similar equipment, a device that provides a continuous supply of oxygen to the lungs through a pressurized oxygen cylinder and a comfortably fitting face mask.
  • A dental appliance called mandibular advancement device (MAD). When the patient wears it before sleeping, it brings the lower jaw forward, allowing the easy movement of air while breathing.

If you are searching for an experienced sleep apnea dentist, please get in touch with us through online consultation or call us, and we'll guide you further.

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Angela An, D.D.S.

255 N San Mateo Dr Suite #4, San Mateo, San Mateo, CA 94401

Phone: (650) 342-8618

Email: [email protected]

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