Sleep Apnea/Airway Treatment in Irvine
If you have sleep apnea, you know firsthand how it impacts your health and your life. However, if you are like many adults, you may have this condition and not even be aware of it. At Woodbridge Dentistry, Dr. Ann Nguyen and her team are dedicated to helping people identify and overcome sleep apnea. Through innovative technology and a passion for serving our patients, we can work with you to improve your health and promote a better quality of life.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea or you have questions about it, we’ll do all we can to help. Contact our office and schedule a visit today.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Life
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that occurs when the airway closes during sleep, cutting off your air supply. This results in your body forcing you awake to resume breathing, which can happen hundreds of times in a single night.
The most difficult part of diagnosing this disease is that it only occurs while you are asleep, and so you won’t be consciously aware of it. However, its effects add up significantly over time.
The most prevalent effect of sleep apnea is poor quality of sleep. Since your body is woken up frequently throughout the night, it’s difficult to achieve the deep, restful sleep your body needs. This often has long-term effects, but you may not be able to pinpoint the cause or connection.
Common effects of OSA include:
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Trouble focusing
Left untreated, OSA can lead to a variety of other systemic health issues including:
- High blood pressure
*GERD (acid reflux)
- Heart disease
*Depression and Anxiety
- Sudden death
*Chronic pain and fatigue
*Cancer (Prostate, Breast, Colon)
Identifying Sleep Apnea in Our Irvine Office
Since many adults are unaware that they have sleep apnea, identifying the disease is the critical first step to getting the help you need. As a state-of-the-art dental office, we have the technology and experience to help you evaluate your potential for sleep apnea so that you can take the important next steps.
Dr. Nguyen uses 3D cone beam imaging to create a complete digital map of your oral structure and airway. This diagnostic tool shows us your full airway in vivid color, allowing us to assess your potential for sleep apnea. Our in-depth evaluation utilizes science-based data and years of experience, looking for key signs that help us to determine if you are at risk.
While a dentist alone cannot make an official diagnosis of OSA, if there are signs you may suffer from sleep apnea, we can refer you directly to have a professional sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. Once you have the results, we’ll partner with you and a board-certified physician in sleep medicine to ensure that you receive comprehensive care tailored to your needs.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options We Provide
Many people who’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea are instructed to use a CPAP machine. While this can be an effective treatment for some, 50-75% of the people have found difficulty using the machine or find it uncomfortable for sleeping. Fortunately, there are alternative treatment options, and Dr. Nguyen and her team will work with you to help you find the right solution and promote better breathing wellness.
Understanding the Source of the Problem
While the effects of sleep apnea are the same, the cause for your unique situation will influence which treatment is best for you. We’ll work with your physician to understand the root of the problem, whether it’s related to your jaw, tongue, a combination, or something else altogether. The more we can identify your particular situation, the more effectively we can tailor your airway treatment.
Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Dental appliances can be a huge help for people with sleep apnea. Dr. Nguyen takes the time to discuss your options and help you choose the dental appliance that best suits your needs.
There are a variety of dental appliances, each working in different ways to help you keep your airway clear. Some hold your jaw in a fixed position while you sleep so that it won’t slide backward and cause your airway to close. Others work by gently holding your tongue forward, keeping the muscles from slipping backward and blocking the airway. Whichever type you choose, your dental sleep apnea appliance will be customized to fit your mouth comfortably so that you can get the full rest you need.
While both CPAP machines and dental appliances provide relief by working around your situation, the ideal treatment would be helping you to correct the issues at the heart of your Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We use a specialized orthodontic treatment known as epigenetic jaw realignment to gently adjust the natural positioning of your jaw. This innovative treatment helps you to achieve a healthier bite, opening your airway and promoting better oral and overall health.
Orthodontic jaw alignment is commonly used on children and teens, but thanks to this innovative technique, we can provide the same care for adults. This treatment is non-surgical and noninvasive, so you won’t have to worry about painful procedures or healing times. Instead, it works by gently stimulating jaw growth into a carefully guided position, creating a new bite and jaw alignment.
With proper care and cooperation with our team, this treatment can be completed in as little as 18 months, and the results will last a lifetime!
Sleep Apnea in Children
Many parents and healthcare professionals are unaware that persistent “mouth breathing” in children, by day or while sleeping, is likely a sign of an upper airway obstruction resulting in Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB). Mouth breathing prevents a child from inhaling beneficial nitric oxide produced and obtained in the nasal sinuses. Likewise, teeth grinding (bruxism) in children should be considered more than a risk of damage to primary teeth. It is a sign that the child may be compensating for a collapsing airway by bruxing to tighten the oral and throat muscles in order to breathe. Bed wetting is also a common in older children with untreated SDB. Children who struggle with SDB and mouth breathe can suffer from sleep apnea much like adults. However, a sleepy child does not respond like an adult, but rather copes by reacting with constant activity to compensate for fatigue. The often have trouble paying attention in school and exhibit behavioral problems. These children are often labeled and treated for ADHD when in fact, they are responding to a breathing disorder.
Treatment of an upper airway obstruction and “mouth breathing” starts with a screening by an experienced sleep dentist. We offer treatments that are non-invasive and completely natural. It is easy for parents to monitor with us, and the result is not only the airway problem gets addressed, but malocclusion also gets treated where a child may not need orthodontic treatment later on.
Promoting Better Smiles and Better Sleep in Irvine
At Woodbridge Dentistry, helping people live their healthiest life is what motivates us to provide the best treatment we can. Whether you’re looking for a permanent solution to your sleep apnea or it’s an effective diagnosis you seek, Dr. Nguyen and her team are here for you! Schedule your next visit to our welcoming office today!