Approximately 18 million people in the U.S. have signs of obstructive sleep apnea. OSA sufferers often snore, and they also frequently awaken choking for breath. To raise awareness about OSA, Wake Up to Sleep and the American Sleep Apnea Association organized Sleep Apnea Awareness Day on April 18.
On April 18 interested patients can watch the “Faces of Sleep Apnea” video on the Wake Up to Sleep website. Patients can add their personal OSA stories to the narrative. The video attempts to raise OSA awareness and to show sufferers they are not alone. Modern neuromuscular dentistry helps patients reach their ideal jaw position, and this position may lessen their symptoms of OSA. San Francisco sedation dentist Greg D. Larson, DDS, inspects patients for signs of apnea, and his dental team has experience treating the disorder.
Common Effects of OSA
OSA occurs when a patient’s upper airway is blocked during sleep; this blockage inhibits their breathing and causes them to wake. The throat muscles or the tongue usually block the airway. Patients are fatigued during the day from their lack of adequate sleep. This fatigue leads to decreased functioning at school or in the office. OSA makes driving a car more dangerous, and it can also cause heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, concentration problems and even depression. Some patients find OSA puts pressure on their relationships and lowers their libido.
Risk Factors and Treatment
Certain factors may cause or exacerbate OSA, including allergies, being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, being older than 40, taking sedatives, having diabetes, having sinus issues or a diverged septum. More men have OSA than women. Patients with large tongues can more easily experience OSA, as can patients with small necks.
SF cosmetic dentist Larson works with other doctors, including pulmonogists, ENT doctors and physical therapists to determine the right course of action for each OSA patient. Some patients can benefit from an orthotic to wear at night. This two-piece appliance keeps the blocked airway open and allows the patient to breathe naturally.
To learn more about Larson Dentistry, visit http://www.larsondentistry.com/ or contact their office at 415-397-2804.
The Larson Dentistry team offers extensive dental care for San Francisco patients. Greg D. Larson, DDS, stays current in his field by attending more than 200 hours of continuing education each year and mentoring other dentists worldwide.
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