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San Francisco Apnea Dentist Nisha Jethani offers an alternative treatment to those who struggle with their CPAP machine.

 

 

This graph shows the traditional sleep cycle where a person quickly falls from the awake stage into deep stage 3 sleep. This cycle repeats itself every 90 minutes, where the stage gets shorter and shorter in duration.  One of the few things that can quickly wake you from deep sleep is a reduction in your blood oxygen levels caused by sleep apnea. The significance of this state of sleep is that at this stage, your body recovers and rejuvenates itself. When you are aroused to “wake up and take a breath” to increase the oxygen levels in your blood, you deprive yourself from deep sleep.

One of the consequences is that you are tired the next day. A more significant problem is when you place undue stress on your heart.  In some cases of obstructive sleep apnea, when the patient is in the supine position, the jaw muscles and the tongue relax and fall backwards. This can partially of completely obstruct the flow of air.

The soft palate / uvula can also lose its “tone” which can also affect air flow. Oftentimes, the vibration of this tissue is what causes the snoring sound that we are accustomed to.  When you are tested for sleep apnea, some parameters that are traced are your heart rate and blood oxygen levels. The blue graph shows the blood oxygen saturation levels and the red colored graph shows the heart rate.

Normal oxygen saturation levels hover around 95%. Whenever you stop breathing, the oxygen levels drop and that triggers your body to “wake up”. These arousals are reflected by a sudden increase in your heart rate.

A custom fitted oral appliances is delivered to your upper and lower jaws and with proper mechanisms, the lower jaw is advanced forward which then allows the unobstructed passage of air, keeping your blood oxygen levels at where there should be. Once the respiratory arousals are removed, your heart rate stays stable, and you can stay in deep sleep undisturbed.