Sleep apnea is often a result of soft tissue in your throat relaxing and blocking your airways. Typified by loud snoring and frequent awakening, the condition is potentially life-threatening. Dr. Mojgan Hashemi can help by fitting you with oral appliances that help prevent tissue collapse. Call her office, Los Robles Dental Plaza in Thousand Oaks, California, today or book online to make an appointment for a better night’s sleep.
While some types of sleep apnea are the result of signals from the brain, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the condition and is due to the collapse of the soft palate during sleep. The muscles of the throat relax, allowing the uvula, tonsils, and tongue to shift and block the passage of air through your throat.
After about 10-20 seconds of inadequate breathing, your brain recognizes the buildup of carbon dioxide and sends a message to wake you briefly to restart your breathing. This sleep disturbance can be for a very short time that you don’t remember in the morning. The cycle can happen as often as 30 times an hour, preventing you from entering deep, restful sleep. As a result, you feel tired even when it seems you’ve slept all night.
There are many therapies for treating sleep apnea, but none works equally well for all patients. Perhaps the most successful is a device that delivers positive air pressure through your airways. Called CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, this therapy requires a rather bulky mask that some people find uncomfortable. For this treatment, you need to see a medical doctor or sleep clinic.
Dr. Hashemi fits passive oral devices to address sleep apnea issues. These devices, which you wear in your mouth, typically address sleep apnea in one of two ways. One approach brings your lower jaw slightly forward, which prevents the collapse of soft tissue. The other method addresses your tongue position to prevent breathing obstruction.
The TAP® 3 and TAP 3 Elite are two-piece appliances that rest over your top and bottom teeth in a fashion similar to a sports mouthpiece. These pieces connect using hooks to hold your lower jaw forward and have adjustability for function and comfort. The TAP 3 Elite offers more adjustability as well as a more durable design and greater lateral mobility.
Though not primarily designed for sleep apnea, the NTI-tss® Plus Soft targets headaches associated with grinding teeth and clenching jaws during sleep.