San Francisco, CA – To get to sleep at night, you’ve probably tried counting sheep. But have you tried a visit to your San Francisco dentist office?
If you wake up in the morning groggy and find yourself sleepy during the day, or if your partner complains about your snoring habit, a visit to your dentist might help. You may suffer from sleep apnea.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that one in five adults suffers from at least a mild form of obstructive sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the throat and tongue relax during sleep, blocking the patient’s airway. A partially blocked airway leads to snoring. If your airway becomes fully blocked it can cause a your breathing to stop for a second, jolting you awake.
“Patients can experience pauses in their breathing that last from 30 to 90 seconds, and they can occur anywhere from five to 30 times an hour,” says Dr. Greg Larson, who is on fellowship track with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. “All of this makes for a restless night, but a lack of sleep can affect your entire body. Your immune system can be lowered, and your concentration and memory can be affected.”
In the past, sleep apnea patients sought out treatment using a CPAP machine. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy is a small machine that delivers a constant supply of air pressure through a hose through a mask or nose piece that the patient wears while sleeping. It can be cumbersome and annoying to wear, but luckily there is an easier option.
Dr. Larson is able to effectively treat patients who suffer from sleep apnea with a comfortable dental orthotic that they wear during sleep. After speaking extensively with other experts, including ENTs, pulmonologists, and sleep medicine specialists, Dr. Larson will determine the best course of action for each of his patients.
Your custom designed sleep appliance will open your upper airway to allow for oxygenation while you sleep. Every appliance is designed to be as comfortable as possible so that you’ll want to wear it every night. Dr. Larson performs neuromuscular tests to ensure each patient is as comfortable as possible with their new sleep appliance.
Your sleep device is not only comfortable, it allows you to drink and speak while it is in place, and even better, you can sleep in your favorite position. With a CPAP machine, your sleeping positions are greatly limited, which can make it hard for some patients to fall asleep.
Additionally, Dr. Larson can discuss with you behaviors that may help lessen your OSA. Losing weight may help lessen the severity of your sleep apnea, as can avoiding heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine before sleep.
If you spent years suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with Dr. Larson and his knowledgeable team today. They can fit you with a custom orthotic and help you get a good night’s sleep again.
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