What is it, and how do I know if I have it?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious and common medical condition characterized by the repeated stoppage of breathing while one is asleep, caused by the over-relaxation and ultimate collapse of the airway (oropharynx). The fact is, sleep apnea is so serious that it is one of the leading predisposing factors for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, and dementia. Sleep apnea is usually accompanied by snoring during sleep, but not always. And it doesn’t just affect adults; children can also suffer from the ill effects of sleep apnea, affecting their growth and development, immune system, and overall social adaptation and performance in school. Sadly, it is reported that up to 90% of people suffering from sleep apnea go undiagnosed and therefore untreated!
At Los Alamitos Dental Care we are committed to doing our part to screen for and, in many cases, treat obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, as dentists we are in a prime position to detect virtually every one of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in adults and, even more importantly, the early markers seen in children. We all know that “prevention is the best medicine,” and this is never more true than in ensuring proper jaw and facial development in children to prevent airway compromise later in life.
Our doctors have received extensive training in what we call “Airway focused dentistry,” and have invested in the latest, cutting-edge diagnostic tools to identify and treat obstructive sleep apnea, including: sound wave pharygometry, 3D computer tomography, and the ARES home sleep test unit. Furthermore, we have established close working relationships with the best and brightest Sleep Medicine physicians, myofunctional therapists, and orthodontists to address these airway issues in a thorough and comprehensive way. Team work is key.
What do I do if I suspect I have sleep apnea?
Here’s a quick list of common symptoms associated with OSA; ask yourself if you suffer from one or more of the following: Snoring during sleep; someone near you reporting that you stop breathing and/or gasp for air occasionally during sleep; excessive daytime drowsiness; needing to get up to urinate during the night; high blood pressure; morning headaches; clenching/grinding your teeth at night. If this list essentially describes you or someone you love, consult with your medical doctor. Or feel free to bring it to our attention at Los Alamitos Dental Care. Our highly trained team of Airway Focused Dentists will work with you to make sure your receive the best possible care.
Then we can all breathe a little easier.