Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a common problem; almost 40 million adults in the US have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When your airway becomes blocked during sleep, you partially or fully wake up to take a breath, and the disruptions to your sleep patterns can have major consequences over time.

Fortunately, there are many ways to address sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment at Mission Hills Dental to explore which sleep apnea treatments may benefit you.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

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An “apnea” is a pause in breath. There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), where your breath is interrupted by your airway becoming physically blocked
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), where you stop breathing due to problems with your nervous system unconsciously sending inappropriate signals to your muscles

OSA is much more common than CSA. If you have CSA, you will need to see your primary care provider and possibly a sleep specialist, since this problem is not related to dentistry. If you have OSA, then your dentist can help you.

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Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

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When you stop breathing, your brain sends an emergency signal to wake you up so you can shift position and take a breath. Many people who have sleep apnea experience the disconcerting sensation of waking up suddenly gasping for air.

Many others are unaware that they have sleep apnea, because they only wake up partway, not enough for their brain to form conscious memories. They may seem to get a full night’s sleep, but wake up still feeling tired. If you sleep with a partner, ask them to listen to your breathing for pauses.

Snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea, as well as the compounding effects of fatigue. Not getting enough sleep night after night takes a toll on the body and mind, leading to brain fog, irregular circadian rhythms, and a host of other issues.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

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There are two main treatments for sleep apnea:

  • Oral appliances that keep your airway open while you sleep. These are similar to nightguards, which you can easily take in and out every night. For some patients, an oral appliance alone can solve the problem.
  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines that continuously pump pressurized air through a mask to keep your airway open. CPAP machines are more intrusive than nightguards, though over time, patients can get used to sleeping with a mask on.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, don’t wait to get it addressed. Schedule an appointment at Mission Hills Dental. We’ll explore every option to get you sleeping soundly again.


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Mission Hills Dental

10515 Balboa Blvd. Suite #250
Granada Hills, CA 91344

(818) 365-8600

Mon, Tue, Thur: 8am - 5pm
Wed: 9am - 6pm
Fri - Sun: Closed

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