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Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition where airflow is blocked during sleep, causing interrupted breathing. Sleep apnea makes it impossible to get the restful, restorative sleep your body and mind need. Sleep apnea treatment at NYC Smile Design can alleviate these episodes. Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib will work collaboratively to develop the treatment plan that will be most effective for your condition, helping restore the quality of sleep you need to function at your highest level.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which you stop breathing several times throughout the night. Each episode may last from just a few seconds to as many as 30 seconds or longer and is often accompanied by choking or gasping sounds when breathing resumes.

Sleep apnea occurs because the airway is not open all of the way. Oftentimes the airway blockage is caused when the muscles of the throat relax, causing a partial or complete obstruction. This is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is sometimes treatable through noninvasive dental treatments available at our office. Central sleep apnea, which is related to interrupted signals between the brain and the muscles of breathing, is not treatable through dentistry and will require the assistance of a physician or somnologist.

If you have been diagnosed with OSA and are looking for an option that does not involve machines, tubing, and masks, Dr. Mello and Dr. Tabib may be able to help. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation and learn more.

Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If it has been brought to your attention that you snore loudly or if you have been made aware of choking and gasping sounds you make while sleeping, you may have sleep apnea. If persistent, these symptoms should be brought to the attention of your primary physician.

Sleep apnea is diagnosed by a physician or somnologist, typically based on data collected through special equipment while you sleep. This equipment monitors airflow, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels, providing your physician with information about the quality of your sleep. This information will enable your doctor to make the appropriate diagnosis.

Though our dentists do not diagnose the condition, we can provide you with a take-home sleep test – the results of which can then be evaluated by a qualified doctor.


Although you must be diagnosed by a doctor to know if you have sleep apnea, indications that it may be time to place a call to your physician include:


  • Frequent headaches upon waking
  • Extreme fatigue and drowsiness
  • Problems with concentration
  • Problems with memory
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Unexplained difficulty in losing weight
  • Fall asleep in less than 10 minutes

Most people with sleep apnea do not realize they have it. Oftentimes it’s a partner, spouse, or housemate who notices you are gasping or choking in your sleep. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call your doctor right away for testing and diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with OSA, visit our New York office to learn if we can help you find a safe, comfortable, and effective treatment for your condition.

Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Exploring your options for treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to improved sleep quality and overall health:

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a common and effective treatment for both obstructive and central sleep apnea. CPAP machines deliver a continuous flow of oxygen during sleep through tubing in the nose or a mask worn over the face. This constant airflow helps to keep the airway open, preventing episodes of breath cessation. Despite its effectiveness, many people find CPAP machines uncomfortable to use, which can hinder adherence to the treatment.

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Oral Appliance Therapy

For those seeking an alternative to CPAP, our dentists offer a comfortable oral appliance designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Worn while you sleep, these devices work by gently repositioning the lower jaw and moving the tongue forward, preventing them from obstructing the airway. This method also helps to keep the soft tissues in the palate and throat from collapsing, further reducing the risk of breathing obstructions.

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Orthodontic Solutions

Another effective treatment for OSA is the expansion of the dental arches through orthodontics, such as braces or Invisalign®. By creating more space for the tongue, this approach prevents it from relaxing into the airway. Additionally, orthodontic treatment can help position the jaw forward, improving airflow and reducing sleep apnea symptoms.

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Surgical Options

In some cases, large tonsils and adenoids can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea by blocking the airway. Surgical removal of these tissues can be a highly effective treatment. This procedure is particularly common in children but can also benefit adults. By removing enlarged tonsils and adenoids, the airway is cleared, reducing or eliminating apnea episodes.

Orthognathic jaw surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is a highly effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), particularly in cases where other treatments have failed or are unsuitable. This surgical procedure involves the repositioning of the jaws to improve the alignment and function of the airway. By advancing the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) forward, orthognathic surgery increases the space in the airway, reducing the likelihood of obstruction during sleep. This increased airway space allows for better airflow and reduces the incidence of apnea episodes. Orthognathic surgery not only addresses the structural issues contributing to OSA but also improves bite alignment and facial aesthetics. The procedure typically requires a comprehensive evaluation and planning process, including 3D imaging and modeling, to ensure precise results. Post-surgery, patients often experience a significant reduction in OSA symptoms, leading to better sleep quality and overall health improvements. As with any surgical intervention, orthognathic jaw surgery requires a thorough consultation with a qualified surgeon to discuss potential risks, benefits, and the recovery process.

Choosing the Right Treatment

The best way to determine which treatment option is right for you is through a one-on-one consultation with our experienced New York dentists. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your condition, including a review of your medical history and a detailed examination of your oral and airway structures. This comprehensive assessment allows us to recommend the most suitable and effective treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

Understanding Risk Factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Several risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing OSA. Here's what you need to know:

Lifestyle and Health-Related Risk Factors:

Cigarette Use: Smoking can irritate and inflame the airways, making it more difficult to breathe during sleep.

Alcohol and Narcotic Use: These substances can relax the muscles in your throat, contributing to airway obstruction.

Being Overweight: Excess weight, especially around the neck, can put pressure on the airway, narrowing it and making it more prone to collapse during sleep.

Being Inactive: Lack of physical activity can contribute to weight gain and poor muscle tone, both of which can increase the risk of OSA.

If your sleep apnea is related to lifestyle choices, addressing these factors is crucial for long-term success. Continuing unhealthy habits will limit the effectiveness of any treatment efforts. Leading a healthy lifestyle is often necessary for lasting results.

Anatomical and Biological Risk Factors:

Obesity: Excess weight can narrow your airway, making it harder to breathe during sleep.

Large Tonsils: Enlarged tonsils can block the airway, particularly in children but also in adults.

Narrow Dental Arches: If your dental arches are narrow, there may be less room for your tongue, which can block the airway.

Hormone Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during menopause, can affect muscle tone and airway patency, increasing the risk of OSA.

Addressing these risk factors is crucial because untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, including:

High Blood Pressure: OSA can cause your blood pressure to rise, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Type 2 Diabetes: Sleep apnea is linked to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

Heart Attack: The stress of frequent awakenings can increase your risk of heart attacks.

Atrial Fibrillation: This irregular heart rhythm can be exacerbated by OSA.

Stroke: Interrupted breathing can lead to stroke.

Heart Arrhythmias/Sudden Death: Severe OSA can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias.

Managing and Reducing Risk Factors at Home:

You can take several measures at home to improve your sleep apnea and overall health:

Change Sleep Position: Sleeping on your side can help keep your airway open.

Limit Alcohol: Reducing alcohol intake can prevent throat muscles from relaxing too much during sleep.

Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration can help keep nasal passages clear.

Get Regular Exercise: Physical activity can help with weight management and improve muscle tone.

Treat Nasal Congestion: Using nasal strips or treating allergies can help reduce snoring, though they may not be effective for OSA.

Home remedies and lifestyle changes work best when used in conjunction with medical treatments. Combining these efforts can significantly improve the efficacy of your sleep apnea treatment and lead to better overall health.

Take Control of Your Sleep Apnea with a Collaborative Approach at NYC Smile Design

At NYC Smile Design, we understand that sleep apnea is more than just a nighttime disturbance; it's a chronic, significant health concern that affects your daily energy, overall health, and quality of life. Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib bring years of experience and a compassionate approach to the diagnosis and management of sleep apnea. Using the latest in dental sleep medicine technologies, we are committed to providing personalized treatments that are effective and tailored to each patient's unique needs.

Our Collaborative Approach:

We believe in a comprehensive, team-based approach to treating sleep apnea. This means working closely with you and, if necessary, coordinating with other healthcare providers to ensure that all aspects of your condition are addressed. Our goal is to create a treatment plan that integrates dental solutions with broader medical care to provide you with the best possible outcomes.

Personalized Treatment Plans: Every patient is unique, and so is every treatment plan we create. We take the time to understand your specific needs, preferences, and medical history to develop a solution that works best for you.

Advanced Technologies: We utilize the latest in dental sleep medicine technologies to accurately diagnose and effectively treat sleep apnea. This includes state-of-the-art imaging and diagnostic tools, as well as the most current treatment modalities available.

Comprehensive Care: From initial consultation to follow-up care, we are with you every step of the way. We provide ongoing support and adjustments as needed to ensure your treatment remains effective and comfortable.

Don't let sleep apnea control your life any longer. The risks of untreated OSA are too great to ignore. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or if you have been diagnosed but have yet to seek treatment, take the first step towards restful sleep and a healthier future.

Contact NYC Smile Design for Your Sleep Apnea Needs

Schedule your consultation with NYC Smile Design and discover how we can help you breathe easier, sleep better, and wake up feeling refreshed. Your health and comfort are our top priorities, and we are here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to begin your journey towards better sleep and improved health.


Expand Your Knowledge

The NYC Smile Design Learning Center page is your go-to resource for comprehensive and insightful information on cosmetic dentistry, offering expert guidance from Dr. Elisa Mello and Dr. Ramin Tabib to help you understand the wide array of dental treatments available, ensuring you make informed decisions for your smile makeover journey.


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