If you regularly wake up with a sore throat or headache, or your partner complains about your snoring, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects more than 22 million Americans and requires professional medical care. At Torok Orthodontics, with two convenient locations in Santa Monica and the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the team diagnoses and treats sleep apnea. To schedule your appointment, call the office nearest you or book online today.

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What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing while you sleep. Ultimately, this causes you to wake up, gasping for air. In addition to preventing you from getting a rejuvenating night’s rest, sleep apnea increases your risk of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

Are there different types of sleep apnea?

There are several types of sleep apnea, including:

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissues at the back of your throat relax during sleep. Ultimately, this blocks your airway, making it difficult to breathe. OSA affects people of all ages and races, but it’s especially common in middle-aged men who are overweight.

Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when there’s a disconnect between your brain and respiratory system. If you have central sleep apnea, your brain fails to send signals to your lungs during sleep. This causes you to wake up.

Complex sleep apnea

Complex sleep apnea is a combination of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. It’s much rarer than the other two types of sleep apnea, but equally as dangerous.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Only a qualified medical doctor can diagnose sleep apnea. However, the team at Torok Orthodontics knows how to spot the signs. During your initial consultation, Dr. Torok conducts a thorough oral exam, reviews your medical history, and asks you questions about your symptoms. She also conducts an airway assessment, which provides insights into the shape and overall health of your airways. She then uses this information to develop a custom treatment plan.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity of the condition and your health history. If you have a mild or moderate case of sleep apnea, Dr. Torok might recommend dentofacial orthopedics, such as a nightguard, to reposition your jaws during sleep.

If a custom oral appliance doesn’t ease your symptoms or improve your quality of rest, you might benefit from minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Torok might recommend an operation to address a gummy smile, or orthognathic surgery to reshape your jawbone. The team at Torok Orthodontics uses bone plates and screws to stabilize your jaw following surgery, instead of wiring your jaws shut. 

To learn more about the treatment options for sleep apnea, schedule an appointment at Torok Orthodontics. Call the office nearest you or book online today.