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101 W Arrellaga St, #A
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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Omid Barkhordar, DDS

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Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a debilitating condition that prevents sufferers from getting optimal rest throughout the night. Although many patients initially visit their primary care physicians for treatment, the dentist is also an ideal place to achieve some much-needed symptom relief.


What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a very serious sleep disorder that affects nearly 18 million Americans. It is characterized by irregular breathing patterns that result in short breaths, pauses, snoring and choking sounds. It’s a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep and prevents you from getting the rest you need, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness.


Types of sleep apnea

There are two distinctive types of sleep apnea. With obstructive sleep apnea, your airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. The throat muscles relax abnormally, and allow the tongue and throat tissues to block airflow. This restricts your ability to breathe normally and triggers the brain to awaken from sleep so you can breathe. When this occurs, the individual typically makes a gasping, choking or snorting sound. Once the breath is taken, the patient falls back asleep and the process continues all over again. This type of sleep apnea is typically caused by the natural aging process, being overweight, possessing enlarged tonsils, smoking and alcohol use.

With central sleep apnea, the brain doesn’t properly signal the muscles that are responsible for breathing. It’s a less common form of sleep apnea, and is often caused by underlying medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, obesity, a stroke and heart failure.


Your sleep apnea treatment

There are a number of treatment options available for sleep apnea, and the right one for you will depend on your personal preferences. A very common form of treatment is the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Machine. It works by blowing air into your throat while you sleep, to keep the airways open. These devices are prescribed by your primary care physician and they work very well for many patients.

However, if you suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and you don’t like the CPAP machine, Dr. Barkhordar can prescribe oral appliances that are proven to offer profound symptom relief in the long-term. Dr. Barkhordar will custom make these devices just for you, so they’re as comfortable as possible.

The most commonly used mouth device for sleep apnea is the mandibular advancement device (MAD). This device snaps over the dental arches and features metal hinges that ease the lower jaw forward. In this way, the device opens up the airways while you sleep. The second dental device treatment option is the tongue retaining device. It’s essentially a splint that maintains the tongue’s forward position to keep your airways open so you can breathe with ease throughout the night.

Once you’ve been fitted for your sleep apnea oral device, you’ll need to return to our Santa Barbara office for a follow-up appointment so Dr. Barkhordar can evaluate the device’s effectiveness and make any adjustments. During these meetings, it’s important to let Dr. Barkhordar know if you’re experiencing any discomfort while wearing the device, as he can make modifications to solve the issue.


Schedule an appointment

Sleep apnea can destroy your mood, productivity and quality of life – but it doesn’t have to. Contact us today to schedule an appointment in our Santa Barbara office, and let us provide you with the symptom relief you deserve.



iconPatient Reviews

His staff is super friendly and he’s downtown in a great local. I’m a very happy patient, and love my new dentist. I highly recommend him!

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- D.E. Santa Barbara, CA
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Family Dentistry

iconPatient Reviews

Dr. Omid was friendly and courteous. He explained what needed to be done and gave me options. I never felt pressured. I’m glad I found this office.

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- V.P. Ventura, CA
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