Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is a group of disorders that disrupt normal respiratory patterns during sleep, usually resulting in daytime sleepiness and a host of systemic health complications.

Snoring, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are all forms of SDB. While snoring is a very common phenomenon – roughly 90 million Americans snore – it is not normal and can be the first clue to diagnosing SDB.

One sleep disorder that we pay particular attention to here at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most severe forms of Sleep Disordered Breathing. It is characterized by “apneic events” – a complete cessation of breathing lasting at least 10 seconds – and is diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe.

It is estimated that sleep apnea will be one of the most common chronic diseases in industrialized countries, with 20% of adults suffering from it by 2010. However, currently 95% of OSA patients are undiagnosed.

Symptoms vary from person to person. Common complaints may consist of daytime sleepiness, broken or fragmented sleep, morning headaches, waking up with a feeling of choking or gasping for breath, inability to concentrate, and dry mouth and throat.

It is important to note that you do not have to snore to have sleep apnea, nor do you have to be an adult – anyone from infants to the elderly can be afflicted with OSA.

What Are The Consequences of OSA?

The consequences of untreated OSA are numerous and can be very serious. They include:

  • Hypertension.
  • Stroke.
  • Heart attack.
  • Atherosclerosis.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Sexual dysfunction.
  • Injury/death due to automobile accident from excessive daytime sleepiness.

OSA has also been linked to Type II Diabetes, ADD/ADHD and bed-wetting in children, and depression.

A Matter of Life & Death

Obstructive sleep apnea is not something to take lightly. Consider some of the following sobering statistics:

  • Approximately 60-80% of snorers will test positive for OSA with a sleep study.
  • Nearly 90% of OSA patients suffer from hypertension.
  • OSA is present in 2-3% of all pre-school children.
  • OSA is responsible for a 16 point drop in IQ.
  • An OSA patient is 23.3X more likely to have a heart attack than a healthy patient.
  • About 100,000 auto accidents occur yearly as a direct result of driver sleepiness.
  • Untreated OSA results in a 20% reduction in life expectancy!

We want to protect both you and your family from the dangers of obstructive sleep apnea, which is why we help diagnose and treat sleep apnea at our practice.

Diagnosing OSA

Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a specially trained physician after a sleep study is administered. Drs. Ebrahimian provide an at-home sleep study to screen for sleep apnea. The home sleep test is a small, easy-to-use device that allows patients to find out whether they may have obstructive sleep apnea in the comfort of their own home.

Many signs of possible OSA are evident in the mouth in the form of grinding and clenching, acid erosion of enamel, a scalloped tongue, and a high palate, to name a few. For this reason, Dr. Max & Dr. Ariana are in a unique position to screen everyone for sleep apnea and make the appropriate referrals if necessary.

Treating OSA

Once a diagnosis of OSA is made, there are a few options available to you. These range from CPAP and oral appliance therapy to orthognathic surgery where the jaws are surgically repositioned to open the airway and permanently resolve the sleep apnea. Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana are part of a competent team of specialists who manage sleep breathing disorders and will help you make the right decision for you based on your individual needs and goals. If you currently suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or you think you may have a sleep breathing disorder, call us at (831) 438-4411 for a consult.

Oral Appliance Therapy for OSA

It is estimated that 60-80% of snorers will test positive for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) with a sleep study. Those who have been diagnosed with OSA by a sleep physician are usually given CPAP therapy or Continuous Positive Air Pressure.

CPAP is a very effective treatment if worn properly and consistently. Unfortunately, many patients find CPAP intolerable and compliance is very low. Oral appliance therapy is a viable alternative to CPAP, especially if the diagnosis is mild or moderate OSA.

These appliances work by holding the lower jaw and tongue forward to prevent a collapsed airway. Only a dentist can provide an oral appliance, and it is important to seek a dentist who has specialized training in treating OSA with these appliances.

Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana work closely with local sleep physicians to make sure that your sleep breathing disorder is treated correctly and effectively.

Tongue-Tie Treatment

Depending on the shape of the airway and the way the tongue rests in the mouth, Drs. Ebrahimian may recommend a tongue tie release combined with Myofunctional Therapy to tone the tongue in preparation for the procedure.

A tongue-tie is a common term for ankyloglossia, which occurs when the tissue under the tongue restrict the tongue’s movement. This tissue causes problems when the tongue is not able to to move as it should.

When the tongue is tethered to the floor of the mouth and not in the proper position to function properly, this can contribute to a number of problems, such as a newborn unable to latch in order to breastfeed properly, which can lead to an improper swallow. A tongue tie can also lead to speech impediments and even sleep disordered breathing.

Drs. Ebrahamian may recommend a frenuloplasty in order to help the tongue function and rest properly in place, reducing the likelihood that the tongue will block the airway. This procedure can help treat obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep issues.

Myofunctional Therapy & Buteyko Breathing

Here at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we pride ourselves on being the only dental office on the central coast of California whose team includes a certified myofunctional therapist and Buteyko breathing educator.

Myofunctional Therapy

The resting position of the tongue and a correct swallowing pattern are both vital to overall oral health, especially when considering the treatment of Sleep Disordered Breathing. Myofunctional therapy is a series of painless, simple exercises to work the musculature of the mouth and face as well as the tongue.

When overseen by a qualified myofunctional therapist at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry in Scotts Valley, this method corrects the function of the tongue and facial muscles both when at rest and when swallowing.

Buteyko Breathing

The Buteyko Breathing Method is a pharmaceutical-free way of easing the impact of over-breathing. Asthma, anxiety, poor sleep, irritable bowel, and shortness of breath are a few of the symptoms of over-breathing. For both children and adults, the Buteyko Breathing method can alleviate these problems and improve athletic performance.

To achieve proper breathing through the nose, the Buteyko method teaches the patient to properly and carefully tape the mouth with 3M paper tape during sleep. A small amount of Vaseline or 3M cream is applied to the skin, and a small strip of tape is placed horizontally across the middle of the mouth.

This method encourages nasal breathing to help you take slower, shallower breaths, giving your body more time to absorb much-needed oxygen. The air you breathe through your nose also has a higher quantity of nitric oxide. This is vital because it kills bacteria while also fostering dilation of your airway, arteries, and capillaries.

These methods can help treat Sleep Disordered Breathing and ease the harmful effects of this disorder.

Rest Easy When You Come to Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry!

We want to help you rest safely and breathe well throughout the night. You can come to Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry in Scotts Valley to find effective treatment options for your Sleep Disordered Breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

We are proud to bring safer, more restful sleep to Los Gatos and Santa Cruz from our convenient Scotts Valley location!