Sleep Apnea

La Jolla Dental Group

General & Cosmetic Dentistry located in La Jolla, CA

Over 12 million Americans suffer from decision-making issues and slowed reflexes, as well as an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, caused by sleep apnea. If you snore and feel sleepy during the day, call or make an appointment online today with Mehrack Kajian-Faraji, DDS, and the expert team at La Jolla Dental Group in La Jolla, California, to get diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea causes your breathing to be continually interrupted for up to 10 seconds while you sleep. While you do partially awaken during these episodes, you are generally unaware they are occurring.

There are three kinds of sleep apnea that the doctors at La Jolla Dental Group treat:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea -- your throat muscles relax too much
  • Central sleep apnea -- your brain sends the wrong signals to the muscles that control your breathing
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome -- you get diagnosed with both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

While the most common symptom associated with sleep apnea is excessive daytime sleepiness, other symptoms include:

  • Tossing and turning
  • Loud snoring often accompanied by gasps
  • Morning headaches
  • Trouble focusing
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anxiety and depression

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

The two most common ways to diagnose sleep apnea are:

Home Sleep Test (HST)

If your dentist at La Jolla Dental Group believes sleep apnea is what’s causing your issues, they prescribe an at-home sleep test. This modified sleep study, done in the comfort of your own home, entails setting up a machine to record several body functions, including:

  • Breathing effort
  • Airflow
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Snoring

Sleep Evaluation With a Sleep Specialist

Sleep specialists help with severe cases or if your dentist requests further testing. For this evaluation, you spend the night in a sleep laboratory, and a trained technologist monitors many of your body functions, including:

  • Brain and muscle activity
  • Eye movements
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing patterns and airflow
  • Blood oxygen levels

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

After a review of your medical history and your test results, your dentist at La Jolla Dental Group often recommends making several lifestyle changes, including:

  • Avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and muscle relaxants
  • Weight loss
  • Quitting smoking
  • Using special pillows to keep you from sleeping on your back  

For more serious cases, the doctors at La Jolla Dental Group provide oral appliances that keep your airway open while you sleep and fit you for positive airway pressure machines (PAP). PAPs blow pressurized air into your airway to help keep it open and require you to wear a face mask attached to a tube while you sleep.  The pressurization varies from continuous, variable, and automatic.

Surgical removal of tissue to widen your airway is another treatment option.

To find out if sleep apnea is causing your daytime sleepiness, call or make an appointment online today at La Jolla Dental Group in La Jolla, California.