Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring and sleep apnea are problems that have plagued mankind since at least the development of the bedroom. In modern society, the problems have only worsened with our increasing “size”, use of shift work, and lack of daily exercise.
Snoring is the noise created when tissues in our nose, mouth, tongue, and voice box vibrate. It is what disturbs or friends and family. Sometimes, the noise of snoring disrupts our own sleep. We treat snoring with a combination of over the counter remedies, dental appliances, implants, and minor surgical procedures.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a more serious problem that results from those same tissues actually collapsing when we sleep. When the tissues collapse, our breathing is restricted or ceases. Snoring may actually stop! Although the decrease in snoring seems nice, the lack of breathing causes our oxygen to decrease, stressing our body (mostly the brain and heart).
Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem. Luckily, the methods to identify and treat sleep apnea have improved greatly over the years. The standard test is a sleep study. While this test has generally been performed in a sleep lab, new technology allows accurate testing for some people in the home! Treatment options have also improved greatly. CPAP machines, the standard of treatment, have gotten smaller, quieter, and less intrusive over the years. Dental appliances are better fabricated to lessen pain in the jaw joint.
There have been several major advances in surgical therapy. The most difficult problem in treating sleep apnea is identifying the exact area of the obstruction. The newest diagnostic test is sleep endoscopy, which allows us to see exactly where obstruction and snoring is occurring by looking at the airway while the patient is asleep! With the use of a surgical robot, we can now look through the mouth and treat areas deep in the throat! These new techniques now allow for curative surgery.
If you are suffering or embarrassed by snoring and sleep apnea, please make sure to discuss the problem with your family, friends, and your health care provider.
The residents of the Santa Clarita Valley have entrusted their health to us for over a decade. At Santa Clarita ENT, we are thankful for that privilege and we look forward to providing excellent care for many years to come.
For more information, please call Santa Clarita ENT at 661-259-2500. We are located at 27879 Smyth Drive in Valencia as well as 655 W Ave Q in Palmdale. You may also learn more at www.ScentMed.com and www.AbeautifulLook.com.
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