What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are two main forms of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by the collapse of the soft tissues and muscles of the throat or nasal passages during sleep, preventing normal airflow. Central sleep apnea (CSA), on the other hand, is caused by the brain failing to send the proper signals to the body that control normal breathing. In rare cases, sleep can be impacted by both forms of sleep apnea simultaneously – a contain called complex or “mixed” sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed by a physician, and some effective treatments can be administered by a dentist.

OSA is the most common form of the condition, and treatment methods can be relatively simple. Oftentimes, a custom nightguard device designed by our dentist, John Cross, DDS, can be worn during sleep to keep air passages open and alleviate or eliminate symptoms such as loud snoring, gasping for air, or choking in the middle of the night. When diagnosed with CSA, a different treatment method is often recommended by a doctor. In most cases of CSA, a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) device is prescribed to help the body maintain a normal breathing pattern.

Dr. Cross works with each patient to help seek an appropriate sleep apnea diagnosis through evaluation by a specialist. If patients are diagnosed with OSA he can develop a customized treatment plan that can facilitate a peaceful night’s rest and an improved overall quality of life.

If you snore heavily and have a hard time getting a restful night’s sleep, contact OC Lifesmiles to find out if Dr. Cross can help.

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Dr. Cross has done such a fabulous job in the 8+ years I’ve been his patient, it leaves him with very little work to do on me these past few years. I appreciate how he embraces and has mastered cutting-edge technology. It’s also comforting that he remembers minor details about the condition of my teeth without even having to refer to my chart. The girls at the front desk have an equally impressive memory and are so sweet and friendly.

~ Happy Patient

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