Do you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or another sleep breathing disorder? Visit our La Jolla, California, dentists, Dr. Dougherty and Dr. Szotko, to find a solution so that you can manage your sleep apnea and get the rest you need.

Reclaim your sleepless night and restore your health

Dr. Paul E. Dougherty and Dr. Scott O. Szotko have received training in the field of sleep apnea dentistry in order to provide the care that you need. We invite you to schedule a consultation if you suffer from sleep apnea or another sleeping disorder. Here at Dougherty Dental, we have the tools and expertise to evaluate your condition and find which type of treatment will provide you with the best results.

After Dr. Dougherty or Dr. Szotko has performed an exam and assessed your condition, they will explain all your treatment options to you and make recommendations based on the results of your exam. Through the use of custom-made oral appliances, they will be able to help you get the rest you need and significantly reduce the health risks associated with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep breathing disorder characterized by snoring and pauses or interruptions in breathing patterns while asleep. It is caused by blockages in the airway. There are several ways in which the airways can become blocked, but the two most common are when the soft tissues of the throat collapse or when the tongue relaxes and rolls back in the throat. When the airway closes, it restricts breathing, often resulting in the vibrations that cause snoring as the air passes through the restricted airway.

While in many cases the obstruction in the airway is minor and allows for adequate oxygen intake, it can have serious long-term consequences. Please do not disregard this condition as even minor snoring can be an early sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Choking, gasping or snoring sounds during sleep
  • Gasping or choking sensations while asleep
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Long pauses in breathing while asleep
  • Abrupt awakening at night accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Headaches or migraines upon waking
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
  • Poor, fitful or restless sleep
  • Depression, anxiety, irritability or moodiness
  • Memory impairment and difficulty concentrating
  • Insomnia

Health risks associated with sleep apnea

OSA is a chronic condition with pauses in breathing that may last from a few seconds to over a minute and can occur hundreds of times in a single night. Aside from sleep deprivation caused by a restless night’s sleep, there are a variety of conditions that may be caused or exacerbated by OSA. These conditions include:

  • Heart disease, including heart attacks and arrhythmia
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Impotence
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heartburn
  • Morning headaches and migraines
  • Dry mouth
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Impaired concentration
  • Depression, anxiety and mood changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Irritability
  • Liver problems
  • Insomnia
  • Daytime drowsiness (hypersomnia)

Treatments for sleep apnea

There are a number of treatments available for sleep apnea. As dentists who have received extensive training in sleep apnea treatment and other sleep disorders, Dr. Dougherty and Dr. Szotko can prescribe and design custom oral appliances to keep your airway open during sleep. These oral appliances are created to fit your mouth perfectly to give you a comfortable treatment, and they work by subtly moving your jaw into a forward position so that your airway will remain open while asleep. This prevents the soft tissues of the tongue and throat from collapsing and blocking your airway, greatly reducing the severity of sleep apnea and the associated health risks. It may even eliminate snoring entirely!

Oral appliance therapy has proven to be highly effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea. It may help you avoid the need for surgery, medications or other sleep therapies.

Is sleep dentistry right for you?

We invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul E. Dougherty or Dr. Scott O. Szotko at our dental office in La Jolla, California. During this consultation, we will answer your questions, address any concerns you may have and discuss your sleep apnea treatment so that we can help you improve your health and lifestyle.

Give us a call today at 858-454-2656 to schedule your appointment at Dougherty Dental. We look forward to helping you improve your health.