San Diego Sleep and TMJ Center Services

What is The Main Cause of Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea specialist san diego
sleep apnea specialist san diego

Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you or your spouse complain about each other’s snoring? Is either one of you constantly waking and gasping for air? Sleep apnea could be a problem. And if it’s obstructive sleep apnea (OSA,) it can be difficult to pinpoint the symptoms at times.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a type of sleeping disorder that results from a blockage in your airway behind your mouth. The blockage is usually caused by your oral tissues, such as your tongue, tonsils, and soft palate.

A large neck circumference or weight gain can increase the likelihood of your soft tissues collapsing together while you sleep. This can cause oxygen to stop flowing to the brain and body, resulting in sleep apnea.

A sleep study at home can help you determine the exact cause. These tests do not require an overnight stay in a sleep lab.

Could I Have Sleep Apnea?

A variety of sleep disorders can affect your ability to sleep, from snoring problems to severe OSA. Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can include:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Large neck circumference
  • Broken or flattened teeth
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Tiredness and waking up

Our dentists can screen for certain signs of sleep apnea, such as bruxism, which is a grinding and clenching behavior. It often dictates indicates a sleeping disorder when combined with other known symptoms. People who aren’t getting enough oxygen at night often have their jaws clenched together. This can eventually lead to cracked or worn enamel.

As part of a sleep apnea treatment in San Diego, we may recommend a home study to confirm a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment.

How Can San Diego Sleep and TMJ Center Help?

Obstructive sleep apnea can be closely linked to your oral anatomy. Since a dentist is the best person to understand your mouth’s anatomy, our San Diego dentists can fit you with a special oral appliance that allows your lower jaw to be positioned slightly forwards. This position ensures that your airway is not blocked by the soft tissues in your back. Your tongue is also held slightly forward to prevent it from sealing off the back of your throat.

A sleep dentist is qualified to fit people with sleep apnea devices. These appliances are FDA-approved for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. You can have them prescribed by your doctor as a CPAP machine, but the medical device companies cannot provide these sleep aids because they are dental appliances and require a dentist’s approval.

How Do Home Sleep Studies Work?

Individuals who suspect they may have a sleep disorder are usually hesitant about spending the night in a laboratory with someone monitoring them. But now it’s possible to test for sleep disorders and sleep apnea at home. This simple device can monitor your pulse, respiration rate, and oxygen levels.

Usually, these machines have a piece that attaches to your wrist or chest and finger. The machine will then record your breathing patterns. You’ll then turn it off and bring it in the next morning. The data is reviewed by a pulmonologist or sleep physician, and then the information is interpreted to determine the type of your sleeping disorder. Depending on the results, the recommended treatment could include traditional CPAP therapy (or an alternative dental sleep device).

Your medical/health insurance policy may cover home sleep studies.

CPAP vs. Dental Sleep Appliance

CPAP machines can be worn over the nose or wrapped around the head. The hose connects to a portable pump. A CPAP’s purpose is to push oxygen through your airway while you sleep, opening up the soft tissues that have been damaged.

Conversely, a dental sleep appliance can open your upper airway in an organic, holistic way. Oral sleep apnea jaw pieces are usually reserved for cases of obstructive or sleep apnea.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’ve been looking for oral sleep apnea treatment near you, Contact San Diego Sleep and TMJ Center today. You (and everyone else in your home) will be glad that you did!