Dangers of Sleep Apnea and Treatments Offered

Glendale Dentist Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and nearby areas in Arizona

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Sleep apnea is very commonly occurring in our society and diagnosed, and people are becoming more aware of its negative affects on our health. There are a number of ways that it can be treated.

What we're trying to do is keep the airway open during sleep because an apnea by definition is just when a person does not breathe for more than 10 seconds. And this will cause a drop in the level of oxygen in our bloodstream and can have negative affects on our body as this occurs a number of times per hour, night after night after night. The most common way that sleep apnea is treated is with a CPAP. CPAP is an acronym for Continuous Positive Air Pressure. The CPAP machine is fitted at a sleep lab while you're sleeping and adjusted for you. The great advantage of the CPAP is it can provide a high quality of sleep. The disadvantage of it is it's sometimes difficult for patients to get used to and to be able to wear long term. So the compliance rate is sometimes difficult for sleep CPAP wearers.

In this regard, the oral appliances we provide are superior in that regard because most people find them more comfortable and our compliance rate is much higher than most CPAP wearers have. Oral appliances like I wear myself, like many of our, some of our staff, and many, many of our patients wear will have a two parts to them. They'll have a part to slip over your upper teeth a part that will slip over your lower teeth. And what we're trying to do in an oral appliance is to stabilize the lower jaw position and in doing that we keep the tongue position more forward. Because as we go to sleep, our palette relaxes, our tongue relaxes, and all this tissue tends to congregate in our throat and close the airway. So the oral appliance is trying to stabilize the tongue, which is usually the biggest muscle and the culprit of most of the airway blockage, by keeping it in a more forward position.

Sometimes surgery is an indication with an ENT doctor. If there is excess tissue in the throat like large tonsils or whatever can be removed and provide more airway. Sometimes people have trouble breathing through their nose from deviated septum or those kind of issues. This type of surgery can be very effective because no matter whether you wear a CPAP or oral appliance, being able to breathe through your nose is just paramount to a long term success of these treatment modalities.

Accepting new patients! Please call our Glendale, AZ dental office at 602-978-1790 or email us to schedule your appointment with Dr. Wilcox.