It is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and 80 percent are undiagnosed. Sleep Apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing occur during sleep. Pauses in breathing can occur several times per hour and can last over 10 seconds. When this happens your blood oxygen level decreases, the brain awakens the individual which often leads to a loud gasp or snort. Sleep apnea is associated with snoring, witnessed pauses in breathing and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. This occurs when your airway becomes blocked or collapses during sleep, resulting in pauses in breathing, or very shallow breathing. The air that manages to squeeze through the blockage can create loud snoring. This is common in people who are overweight or obese. These episodes can occur many times an hour. The result is that you rarely get to enjoy the deeper level of a restful sleep that your body needs to function at optimum capacity.
If Obstructive Sleep Apnea is untreated there can be profound consequences:
- Increased risk of heart attack or heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
- Excessive weight gain
- Dry mouth or throat
- Daytime sleepiness and automobile accidents
Following an initial consultation and referral for a Home Sleep Study to determine whether you are suffering from a mild, moderate, or severe condition. Approximately 60 per cent of patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be treated with a dental appliance. Dr. Gerber has been making dental appliance to treat obstructive sleep apnea for over 20 years. These dental appliances are non-invasive and comfortable to wear. For more detailed information please call our office at (310) 652-0450 so we may answer any questions and schedule a consultation appointment.
Robert B. Gerber, DDS, FACD