Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the patient’s breathing stops and starts repeatedly. Patients who have this condition may experience a number of symptoms, including:
Most patients with sleep apnea have the “obstructive” form of the disorder. This means that the soft tissues in the back of the throat relax while the patient is asleep, which allows the airways to narrow. The patient can’t take in enough oxygen, so the brain arouses the patient from sleep briefly.
Although many patients don’t consider their sleep apnea to be serious, this disorder can lead to serious complications if it’s left untreated for an extended period of time. Some of the possible complications of sleep apnea include heart problems, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and liver problems.
Dr. Ebrahimi can create a customized oral appliance for a patient with sleep apnea. This appliance holds the patient’s jaw slightly forward during sleep, which prevents the airway from closing and reduces the symptoms of sleep apnea.
When a patient with sleep apnea requests treatment, Dr. Ebrahimi begins by taking a mold of the patient’s teeth. She sends this mold to the laboratory where professionals will create a customized device designed to fit comfortably in the patient’s mouth.
Patients with sleep apnea may also benefit from using an airway pressure device, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. These machines include a mask worn over the face throughout the night. They deliver pressurized air designed to keep the airway from collapsing during sleep.
Although airway pressure devices are effective, they are also inconvenient. Patients must use them every night, which can be difficult during travel. In addition, some patients don’t like wearing a face mask during sleep. These patients often opt for an oral device instead.
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