Sleep Apnea


Atascadero, CA man snoring in bed in need of sleep apnea treatment by his dentist.Here at Mark Romanelli DDS in Atascadero, CA we want all of our patients to live a happy, healthy life. It can be hard to be very happy or healthy when you wake up from a full night sleep feeling tired and groggy. Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea every night. Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing periodically throughout the night, causing you to get a bad night’s rest. Fortunately, there is something we can do to help you, so if you wake up tired and aren’t sure why give us a call today at (805) 468-4659 and schedule an appointment to be seen.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?


Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common type of sleep apnea in the world. About 80% of all people who are affected by sleep apnea have OSA. OSA is a condition that affects your breathing while you sleep due to relaxation in the muscles in the back of the throat. The most common signs of OSA are chronic snoring, choking and gasping during sleep. If your partner complains that they can’t get good sleep because you display any of these symptoms, there is a chance that you have OSA.

How OSA Affects You


Imagine that every time you started drifting off, someone was poised next to you in bed ready to jostle you a little bit. Chances are unless you are a very sound sleeper, you wouldn’t be able to get a good rest. OSA does a very similar thing to you as you fall asleep. As you fall asleep, the muscles in the back of your throat relax and collapse, cutting off your airway. When your airway is cut off, you can’t draw breath, so over the span of 5-30 seconds, you don’t draw a breath. When enough time passes without drawing a breath, you will choke or gasp for air, which draws you out of your sleep cycle.

The sleep cycle is very important as it is what determines how rested you are following a night’s sleep. The sleep cycle depends on you being able to pass from one stage to the next and what ends up happening with OSA is the patient gets stuck and is never allowed to progress into the deep sleep cycles.

OSA Risk Factors


OSA can affect anyone, but certain risk factors can increase the risk of OSA:
•  Over the age of 40
•  Overweight
•  Family history of sleep apnea
•  Use of alcohol or tobacco
•  Large neck circumference
•  Being a male


Sleep Apnea Treatment


There are a few ways to treat sleep apnea, but for OSA we use oral appliances that help to hold your lower jaw in the forward position. When you sleep on your back and your lower jaw is allowed to relax it will fall back, into the airway. These oral appliances hold the lower jaw in a position that doesn’t allow the collapse of your airway, thus allowing you to continue breathing throughout the night.

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