Sleep Apnea & Airway Treatments

We're concerned about the overall health of our patients, including their sleep health. Many people suffer needlessly from dangerous sleep disorders that keep them from getting enough oxygen at night. The risk of a heart attack is 23 times more likely than average with a sleep disorder, and 92% of stroke victims live unknowingly with this condition before having a stroke. Our training allows us to offer you education and treatment surrounding sleep health using the simplest, most cost-effective method.

Estimates suggest that more than twelve million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Most cases are still undiagnosed, contributing to diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and traffic accidents related to drowsy driving. Dentistry serves a vital role in treating this silent epidemic.

Airway Screening Forms

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This video illustrates the effects of obstructive sleep apnea.

What is OSA?

OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway. Obstructions occur when throat muscles, the tongue, tonsils, or the soft palate relax and cover the airway, preventing breathing. The obstruction results in a severe drop in blood oxygen levels throughout the night.

OSA is typically diagnosed using a polysomnogram or a sleep study. During a sleep study, a sleep physician monitors brain activity and body system functions while a patient rests overnight at a sleep lab. The specialist evaluates the data collected to diagnose sleep disorders and recommend treatment. If prescribed by the sleep doctor, a dentist trained in sleep medicine works with them to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. In some cases, a home sleep study may also be possible instead of reporting to a sleep lab.

How Is OSA Treated?

Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea may involve surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances provide the least invasive option and often an excellent choice for treatment of mild to moderate OSA.

Mandibular Advancement Device: This video illustrates a device used to help treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring

Snoring, by itself, is not a severe medical condition but it is an annoyance to everyone in the area and leads to disruptive sleep.  It often leads to partners sleeping in separate bedrooms, which can be bad for relationships.  Careful evaluation of what is causing the patient to snore usually leads to simple solutions.  These solutions may include weight reduction, oral appliance therapy, orthodontic treatment and/or surgery.  Dr. Gallegos can assist you with your concerns to make sleeping quiet, refreshing, comfortable and enjoyable for everyone around.

Solutions for Children

Early intervention for children is important for proper skeletal and neurological growth and development.  Proper development of the nasal airway is dependent on good nasal breathing that can be compromised by enlarged tonsils and adenoids, deviated septum or chronic mouth breathing to name a few.  Snoring in a child is not normal and should be evaluated by a pediatric sleep physician for possible sleep apnea or other sleep disturbed breathing problems.  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be a sign of an airway problem.  Airway should be evaluated as part of the diagnosis of ADHD.  Treatment of childhood airway problems may involve a few doctors including a dentist extensively trained in sleep medicine, like Dr. Gallegos.