Dr. Michael Fulbright at Fulbright Cosmetic & Reconstructive Dentistry discusses the symptoms of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause loud snoring and extended breathing pauses during sleep.
Los Angeles, CA – A life-threatening condition that affects an exceptionally large number of Americans is also one that many people don’t even know they have: sleep apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the most common form of the condition, can cause pronounced snoring and/or breathing pauses of 10 to 20 seconds or more. The American Sleep Apnea association estimates that over 18 million people in the U.S. have sleep apnea, and many are unaware of the problem unless they are observed by someone else while they sleep; however, Dr. Michael Fulbright, a cosmetic dentist in Redondo Beach and the Los Angeles area, says there are also other associated symptoms of sleep apnea that individuals can observe themselves. Dr. Fulbright says there are advanced procedures that can successfully treat sleep apnea, but it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms and seek diagnosis and treatment for the condition as soon as possible.
Sleep apnea is characterized by the reduction of airflow caused by excessive relaxation of muscles and tissues in the nasal passages, tongue, and throat. During sleep, the airways can become dangerously narrow, often leading to loud snoring and extended breathing pauses. Dr. Fulbright says sleep apnea can lead to serious health risks, including sudden cardiac death, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, gastric reflux disease, diabetes, and many other conditions. While sleeping, symptoms of sleep apnea often manifest as snoring, breathing cessation, and sudden gasping or choking. During waking hours, some of the symptoms may include:
- Exhaustion and sleepiness
- Trouble concentrating and a reduction in mental sharpness
- Slower reflexes
- Memory loss
- Depression, mood swings, and/or irritability
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking
- Morning headaches
Dr. Fulbright says symptoms like these should never be ignored. He notes that there are a range of treatment options for sleep apnea that can successfully help individuals maintain a normal flow of air through breathing passages and obtain a healthier, more restful night’s sleep. Dr. Fulbright says, while a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device is a common treatment for snoring and sleep apnea, there are other options available for patients looking for more comfortable and less bulky alternatives. One such treatment, the doctor says, is a customized oral appliance. Dr. Fulbright notes that these appliances, which are similar to mouthguards and orthodontic retainers, can be designed for a patient’s unique oral structures to create the best possible fit. Oral appliances can reposition the jawbone and soft tissues during sleep, making it possible for a healthy airflow to pass through breathing passages.
Since the health risks of sleep apnea are so great and the condition affects so many people, Dr. Fulbright says it’s vital for individuals to be able to recognize the warning signs and have their symptoms checked out. He notes that sleep apnea is often a very treatable condition, and advanced procedures that are readily available make it possible for patients to comfortably reduce symptoms and sleep peacefully through the night.
About Michael Fulbright, DDS
Dr. Michael Fulbright earned his Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, and continued his studies at the Pacific Implant Institute and at UCLA’s Advanced Aesthetic Continuum. He is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the West Los Angeles Dental Society, and other organizations. In addition to treatments for sleep apnea and snoring, Dr. Fulbright offers a comprehensive range of general, reconstructive, and cosmetic dentistry procedures, including porcelain veneers, dental implants, and teeth whitening. He is available for interview upon request.
Michael Fulbright, D.D.S.
1815 Via El Prado, Ste. 200
Redondo Beach, California 90277