Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley CA
If your child snores at night, this may seem harmless and even cute. In actuality, snoring in children is never a normal behavior and could be considered a warning sign of a serious sleep breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Luckily, certain Scotts Valley dentists like the ones on staff at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, practice sleep apnea dentistry—a specialization of the dental field that focuses on identifying and treating sleep apnea. One relatively new method of treating sleep apnea, especially in children, is a course of myofunctional therapy. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how myofunctional therapy can be used to resolve sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when there is a problem in the airway that makes it difficult to breathe while asleep
When a person with sleep apnea lies down, they experience an airway blockage that results in snoring, and decreases air to the lungs. The decrease in airflow or oxygen levels leads the brain to send signals to the body to resume breathing. A sleep apnea sufferer probably will not wake up consciously, but these signals from the brain are enough to disrupt the sleep cycle and hinder your ability to get quality rest.
What causes sleep apnea?
The blockages that lead to a sleep apnea attack may occur due to a collapse of soft tissue in the throat. Or, they may happen because there is not enough room in the mouth to accommodate the tongue, meaning it slides back into the airway. This often is the case for patients with a narrow upper dental arch where the tongue has to rest low in the mouth.
Myofunctional therapy can help sleep apnea patients by strengthening the muscles of the tongue and mouth
Myofunctional therapy is a treatment method that entails performing a series of exercises that are simple and usually pain-free. You may have heard of myofunctional therapy as a means of working the tongue, in combination with the muscles in the face and mouth. However, a trained and experienced myofunctional therapist in Scotts Valley such as Jeanne Shimizu at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry also can prescribe a course of myofunctional therapy that can strengthen the orofacial muscles to accommodate the tongue better.
An increasing body of medical research suggests that myofunctional therapy benefits patients with sleep apnea. Patients who have undergone a course of this therapy drops severe cases of sleep apnea down to mild or moderate levels, while also significant decreases in the prevalence of both snoring and daytime fatigue.
Why should you consider myofunctional therapy as a method for sleep apnea treatment?
Myofunctional therapy is minimally invasive, especially compared to other types of treatment for sleep apnea such as use of the CPAP machine. You can perform the exercises yourself daily and should experience little discomfort while doing so.
No equipment is needed for myofunctional therapy. The standard method in medical science to treat sleep apnea is a CPAP, which involves wearing a mask when you sleep that is attached to a machine that pumps a continuous flow of air to maintain an open airway at night. Despite its widespread use, many patients who use CPAP complain about it being inconvenient and cumbersome, and may even stop using the machine altogether, which just makes their sleep apnea get worse.
Lastly, myofunctional therapy is becoming more recognized by insurance companies as an effective method of treatment for sleep apnea. However, speak with our office to determine the costs involved for this treatment.
Myofunctional Therapy in Santa Cruz
Learn more about the benefits of myofunctional therapy. Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry has been offering this therapy for the past several years. Our full-time staff includes a myofunctional therapist, Jeanne Shimizu, who has more than three decades of experience as a dental hygienist, uses her training in the principles and practices of myofunctional therapy to help patients of any age. While other forms of treatment may be necessary to treat your case of sleep apnea, myofunctional therapy may still be helpful for you.
If you think you have sleep apnea or you have been diagnosed with this sleep breathing disorder by another medical professional, schedule a consultation with us today by calling (831) 438-4411. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that, if not treated by a qualified medical professional, will get worse. The possible consequences include continued lost sleep, and even a heightened risk of developing a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition like cardiac disease, hypertension, and even certain forms of cancer. Don’t live with that risk! Make your appointment today.
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is proud to serve the needs of patients in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California.