Sleep Apnea Treatment In Del Mar

Get a better night's sleep

Sleep Apnea Treatment In Del Mar

If you or a loved one snore heavily while sleeping, wake up gasping or choking, or are not feeling properly rested even after 7-8+ hours of sleep, these are all signs that you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is the most common sleep disorder, and affects millions of Americans. At Del Mar Dental Studio, Dr. Todd Pizzi can help you get the treatment you need. 

Sleep apnea dental patient

What is sleep apnea?

Understanding the basics

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. This type of sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues of your throat and palate sag into your airway, blocking proper respiration and breathing. For most people, these interruptions in breathing occur for between 2-10 seconds at a time, but they can be even longer. 

This may happen hundreds or even thousands of times per night, interfering with proper blood oxygenation and respiration. In the short term, this may cause issues like poor-quality sleep, daytime sleepiness, and feelings of lethargy. In the long term, these regular interruptions to proper breathing can increase your risk of a heart attack and stroke.

what to look for

The top warning signs of sleep apnea

Prolonged, heavy snoring accompanied by interruptions in breathing is the top warning sign of apnea, particularly when accompanied by choking or snorting noises. You may also wake in the middle of the night and feel like you are choking, or can’t breathe.

Your throat may also feel dry or “scratchy” upon waking, and you may notice other symptoms like morning headaches, restless sleep, forgetfulness, and mood swings. You may also have a decreased libido. If you notice one or more of the above symptoms, you may have sleep apnea, and you will need to get help from a sleep specialist.

family at the beach

what causes sleep apnea

The most common contributing factors

The largest contributing factor to sleep apnea is obesity. Obesity is associated with excess tissue in the throat, which can contribute to airway collapse and OSA. Large tonsils can also contribute to OSA, and consuming certain medications like sleeping pills or drinking alcohol before bed can contribute to sleep apnea.

Some genetic factors can also contribute to sleep apnea, such as a thick neck, a narrow airway and palate, or a major overbite. Other contributing factors include frequent nasal congestion, and smoking tobacco.

Your options

Treatment for sleep apnea

For minor-to-moderate cases of sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be a good option. Oral appliance therapy uses a device that looks similar to a mouthguard. It’s designed to shift your jaws and palate into a healthier position as you sleep, preventing the sagging of your soft tissue, and stopping OSA. 

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines are another option for more severe cases of OSA. They use a face and nose mask to deliver a stream of pressurized air into your airway, which prevents soft tissue from sagging, and ensures your breathing is not interrupted. To determine the best option for you, we recommend working with a sleep specialist and an experienced dentist like Dr. Todd Pizzi at Del Mar Dental Studio.