At the dental office of Carter S. Yokoyama DDS in Kailua-Kona we take your dental health very seriously. Though we offer some of the most advanced cosmetic treatments available, as well as premium general dentistry, we also address the very serious issue of sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
You may have heard the term and know it relates to snoring, but in reality, it is a condition that is far worse than occasional bouts of snoring. When it is described as “obstructive” (which is the most common) it means that your airway actually collapses or is somehow blocked when you lay down to sleep. At the very least, this can cause extremely shallow and labored breathing, but at its worst the condition leads to long pauses in which you actually cannot breathe. Pauses can last for several seconds and occur dozens of times in a single evening. This leaves many people exhausted and at risk for daytime drowsiness and even nodding off during regular activities.
People with the condition may sound like they snore, but that noise is actually a choking sound as they are struggling to draw air through the collapsed passage. As stated, this condition causes extreme fatigue due to lack of adequate and restful sleep, but it can also lead to issues like acid reflux, stroke, diabetes, and many other severe medical issues.
How Can a Dental Office Help?
While it sounds like this might be something best addressed by a medical doctor or team of sleep professionals, healthcare experts tend to agree that anyone who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea can benefit from the use of oral appliance therapy. Though the older and less popular CPAP machines are still available, several leading groups point towards oral appliances as a more preferred method.
This is as it sounds and depends upon a safe and effective appliance that you insert into your mouth in order to remedy the condition. Dr. Yokoyama can consult with you about your sleep apnea diagnosis and then work with you to create the ideal appliance for your needs.
Similar to mouth guards, these are custom designed and custom molded to your mouth. They are meant to address the area that is collapsing as you sleep at night. Commonly, the device will move your jaw slightly forward to allow your air passages to remain fully open, effectively bringing the shallow breathing and bouts of restless sleep to an end.
The general health and well-being of those who use appliances tends to improve rapidly after they first start using them. Getting rest and improving oxygen intake has a huge impact on them and proves how effective dental treatments are for this serious condition.
Schedule a Consultation
As you can see, sleep apnea is not to be taken lightly. At the dentist office of Dr. Yokoyama, patients can enjoy a comprehensive consultation that will address all of their dental issues. Whether it is cosmetic treatment, general dentistry or something as serious as the need for oral appliance treatment, we are here to help. Please give the office a call at (808) 322-0101 or use our online contact form to get in touch.