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12840 Riverside Drive, #100
Studio City CA 91607

Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects as many as 30 million Americans. This medical condition is characterized by the involuntary cessation of breathing during sleep, sometimes occurring hundreds of times over the course of one night. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by airway blockages due to the throat relaxing so much that it collapses during sleep. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea presents many health risks and can significantly reduce your quality of life.

The benefits of treating sleep apnea include:

Decrease your risk
of cancer

Individuals with sleep apnea are 5 times more likely to get cancer.

Decrease your risk
of heart attack,
heart disease, stroke

Obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk of having a heart attack by 550%, which is more than the combined risk posed by obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure.

Decrease your risk of
type 2 diabetes

For adults with a crossbite, whether the upper teeth are closer to the cheek or tongue than the lower teeth, Invisalign® can adjust overall teeth alignment.

Increased
longevity

On average, undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of death by 47% and decrease your life expectancy by up to 15 years.

Decrease your risk of
cardiovascular disease

Sleep apnea causes sudden drops in your blood oxygen levels, thereby increasing your blood pressure. It also strains the cardiovascular system.

Decrease your risk
of erectile
dysfunction

Sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of erectile dysfunction.

Possible
weight loss

Poor quality sleep hampers the normal function of hormones that monitor when you need to eat or stop eating and can lead to weight gain.

Improved
cognitive function

Lack of good sleep and oxygen to the brain can severely impair cognitive function and memory.

Decrease your risk
of headaches

Unrestful sleep due to sleep apnea may cause morning headaches.

Decrease your risk of
depression or
mood disorder

Sleep apnea is associated with depression and mood disorders, such as feeling irritable or having mood swings.

How does sleep apnea treatment work?

Oral appliance therapy (OAT) can effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea. A custom-made oral appliance can be worn at night like a mouthguard or retainer to support your jaw so that it remains in a forward position during sleep. This will keep your airway more open so you can breathe normally during sleep. This process typically takes 5 stages, including:

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, Dr. Sands will order you to undergo a sleep study to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea and need a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral appliance therapy.
During your first visit for oral appliance therapy, Dr. Sands will discuss the benefits of oral appliance therapy for your obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Sands will conduct a clinical examination of your jaw, teeth, airway, and tongue, and she may also take x-rays of your mouth.
Next, Dr. Sands will take an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental lab to design a custom oral appliance.
You will return to meet with Dr. Sands and be fitted with your oral appliance. Dr. Sands will adjust your oral appliance to make it fully effective and comfortable. Also during this visit, you will receive instructions on how to maintain and care for your oral appliance.
After a period of time using your new oral appliance, you will have a follow up sleep test with the appliance in to see if it is effective in treating the OSA.

FAQ

How do I find out if I have sleep apnea?

Many individuals with sleep apnea have no idea they have it. Common symptoms include chronic daytime sleepiness, impaired cognitive function, waking up frequently during the night, dry mouth or a headache upon waking, and/or loud and chronic snoring that may be accompanied by pauses, choking, or gasping. Another common symptom is grinding and tooth wear, as individuals will sometimes grind their teeth to try to open their airway.

Your partner may notice these symptoms based on your sleep patterns. A proper diagnosis requires a physical examination, analysis of your medical and family history, and a sleep study to record your brain activity, heart rate, blood pressure, chest movements, air movement through your nose, and blood oxygen levels.

Who is most likely to have sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is more common in men but can also occur in women and children. It is also more common in individuals who are overweight. Those with a narrow airway, enlarged tonsils, an enlarged uvula or soft palate, or a family history of sleep apnea are also at risk. The risk of developing sleep apnea increases with age.
What are the best treatment options for sleep apnea?

A CPAP machine or surgery may be recommended to treat sleep apnea. However, it is estimated that 75% of patients are noncompliant with wearing their CPAP as the machine can be bulky, noisy, and uncomfortable. If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and cannot (or will not) wear a CPAP, Dr. Jamie Sands can make an oral appliance for you.

Many people prefer oral appliance therapy because it is non-invasive and is more comfortable, easy to maintain, easy to wear, quiet, portable, and convenient. Oral appliance therapy may be appropriate for individuals who are incompatible with a CPAP machine. This form of treatment is best for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, and it is often covered by medical insurance plans.

How will OAT improve my quality of life with sleep apnea?
Oral appliance therapy will help you sleep better and improve your breathing during sleep. People with obstructive sleep apnea who use an oral appliance at night can have higher quality sleep, more energy, more mental clarity, and greater emotional stability. This simple, yet effective form of treatment promotes a healthier body, mind, and heart.

Schedule your consultation with Dr. Sands to learn more about how we can help make your smile healthier and more beautiful for the rest of your life.

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