Los Angeles, CA dentist answers questions about dental appliance therapy for sleep apnea


Dr. Don Mungcal, owner of Downtown Dental in Los Angeles, CA, shares this helpful information about sleep apnea and the effectiveness of a dental appliance for treatment.
While sleep apnea has likely been around throughout mankind’s history, its first official mention in medical literature occurred in 1965. Since that time, the term has become more commonplace. Yet there are many questions about the condition. Dr. Don Mungcal, owner of Downtown Dental in Los Angeles, CA, shares this helpful information about sleep apnea and the effectiveness of a dental appliance for treatment.

What happens with sleep apnea?

If you have sleep apnea, nighttime probably follows a predictable pattern. You get comfortable in bed and take a few normal breaths. As you fall deeper into sleep, you begin to snore, and the sound gets progressively louder as the pathway for air to get into and out of your body narrows. With each passing minute, less oxygen reaches your lungs, heart, and brain. Breathing may cease entirely for a few seconds or up to several minutes. Your brain senses danger, just as it would if you were choking or drowning. It orders a jolt of adrenalin to stimulate your primal fight or flight response. You jerk awake, take a deep gasp or two, reposition, and try to go back to sleep.

If you are a severe apneic, this cycle may repeat dozens of times per hour. That keeps you from reaching deep stages of sleep where hormones are released that trigger cellular regeneration.

Do you have physical symptoms of sleep apnea?

Loud, chronic snoring is often associated with sleep apnea, but some apneics do not have this symptom. Other signs of sleep apnea include:
  • Odd sleep positions. Your body tries to adjust to keep the airway open, so you may unknowingly prop up on one elbow or contort the head to one side.
  • Noisy, open-mouth breathing.
  • Dry mouth or sore throat in the morning.
  • Waking with a headache.
  • Migraines.
  • Insomnia – inability to stay asleep at night (as opposed to difficulty falling asleep).
  • Frequent nighttime bathroom breaks.

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Is sleep apnea affecting more than your sleep?

Even mild sleep apnea can have a serious direct effect on your health. Repeated oxygen deprivation places tremendous strain on the cardiovascular system, elevating blood pressure and increasing risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. The condition is linked to obesity, depression, and TMJ disorders, and the health risks that go along those issues.

The impact of sleep apnea extends to many other areas of your life including relationships. Loud snoring may cause resentment and eventually drive your sleep partner to the far edge of the bed or another room. Intimacy also suffers as the apneic’s libido drops from lack of rest, and irritability increases.

Sleep apnea could be holding you back from achievements at work or school. The condition dulls mental focus and impairs memory.

Hypersomnia, a side effect of sleep apnea, is characterized by daytime drowsiness and falling asleep at inappropriate times. This can be a big risk factor in vehicular accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea reduces these threats.

Is CPAP your only option?

Image of a couple suffering from Sleep Apnea
Historically, obstructive sleep apnea was treated surgically, with removal of tissues at the back of the throat, repositioning the jaw, or modifying the tongue. Fortunately, today a surgical approach is used only in extreme cases.

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy then become the standard of treatment. A small compressor creates a flow of air directed through a nasal mask. The increased pressure holds the airway open, facilitating easier breathing. CPAP works well when it is utilized consistently. However, most people don’t find it convenient or comfortable. In some cases, CPAP aggravates existing sleep apnea symptoms such as dry mouth, and may irritate facial skin.

A properly-fitted dental appliance can achieve similar results, in a user-friendly fashion.

Where to find dental appliance therapy for sleep apnea in Los Angeles, CA?

Dr. Mungcal has helped many patients in the Los Angeles area get better sleep that contributes to health and overall quality of life, with oral appliance therapy. He customizes the fit of a splint, a device that looks something like a mouthguard. It repositions the jaw slightly forward and open and depresses the tongue to prevent tissues from blocking the airway.

Just slip the appliance in place before going to sleep and take it out in the morning. Most people adapt quickly to the feel, and the device is easy to keep clean. Plus, the unit fits into your pocket, handbag, or carry-on, so you can sleep better anywhere.

Do you have more questions about sleep apnea and effective dental treatment for the condition? Call Downtown Dental at (213) 863-9464 to schedule a visit with Dr. Mungcal.

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"I am a legit Patient at this practice. The Doctor is amazing - educated, skilled and patient. Allison, my Dental Hygienist, is really friendly, knowledgeable and proactive about her patients' oral health. In my experience, the office staff at Downtown Dental is always professional, friendly, and thoughtful about my time. Plus, they offer reasonable financing! If you're honest about your budget (for people like me who don't have dental insurance), they can often work with you to stay within budget. I also learned that they use the best equipment in their field and staff gets training often on new dental techniques. If you are someone who works, resides or likes to visit Downtown - this is an especially excellent place to see the dentist periodically.

Downtown Dental is a fantastic Dental practice in the heart of the city. They are located near LA's Cultural hub of museums, concert halls and the like (The Broad, MOCA + more ). But don't let all that (magic) discourage you from making your appointment, because traffic is usually very smooth on Grand and getting in and out of their secure and validated parking lot (in their building) is a breeze. They also have 2 e-car charging stations if that's how you roll. If you work in DTLA, like many, you can even get a lunchtime cleaning!

Sidebar: The office is located inside a gorgeous apartment building, full of high end furnishings, accentuated with stunning street art. You may have even passed by & seen the Subway flags at street level- the dental office is right upstairs. It's worth a try, especially if you want great oral health, love art, culture and the city!"
"Still the best I've ever been to! The entire staff is more than knowledgeable & helpful!

Don't waste your time going to other places, this dentist & his team are your best bet!

They are courteous, flexible, and above all: PROFESSIONAL."
"What an amazing staff and dental team!!

I had four front crowns and 2 root canals done all in about 3 hours! It was pain free! Dr Mungcal was fast and I didn't feel a thing! People compliment my teeth all the time! ...Little do they know they're fake! Very grateful!!! I am in Invisalign now and love how it stopped me from clenching and grinding my teeth! My teeth and gums are healthy because of all the amazing dental work they have done and continue to do!! Oh ...And they offered nitrous which made the whole experience awesome! Go here if you want dental work done right!!"
"Downtown dental made my cavity experience as painless as possible, and the technology they use is so up to date and accurate.

The staff are also very friendly and know the best habits for having a healthy mouth.
So glad I started going here!"
"Absolutely the best dental office! In all reality I used to hate going to the dentist I would cancel my appointments at my old Drs office all the time !! But the Hygienists and the staff in general are so welcoming and make you wanna keep coming back. They are always ready to deliver and Allison did an amazing job on my teeth cleaning thank you for that"
"This review is long overdue. I've been a patient at downtown dental since 2005 and have had nothing but positive experiences. I've had quite a bit of dental work and when I had a cracked crown recently, they scheduled me the next day and replaced it at no charge. They would have scheduled me that day but sadly, I'm no longer a patient as I've moved to NorCal. I felt like they really went out of the way to accommodate me and I appreciate that! Thanks guys!!"
"Great practice, the doctors and assistants are very professional, helpful and pleasant. They make dental appointments almost enjoyable...not something I thought possible!

Katie the hygienist is not only gentle, professional and very professional but also inspiring. She makes you want to have the best gums in Los Angeles.

Thank you guys!"
"The team at Downtown Dental are the best! They have done both an implant and Invisalign for me. They keep me informed about all the steps and always get me in and out quickly! I love that they can do everything right in their own offices too."
"My story is: I chipped a took eating cereal! Who does that!?! (The cereal was crunchy I'll admit). I went to Downtown Dental and Dr. Mungcal evaluated my situation and realized my bite needed to be adjusted. I grind my teeth at night also so the combination of it all was wearing my teeth down. He recommended invisalign to align my bite. I was hesitant because it's pricey but...trust me...it was SO WORTH IT!!! 8 months later, my bite is fixed and aligned and my teeth are straighter which is a bonus! I am only 34 and I want to keep my teeth healthy and strong for a long time! Dr. Mungcal and the entire staff are amazing and took GREAT care of me. You can rest assured you will be taken care of by them!"
"Came to downtown dental with my husband for his first dental implant. He was very nervous on getting this procedure done.. From his experience he said the staff were super friendly made him feel very welcomed..the dentist made his procedure quick and painless my husband didn't even need his medication for the swelling or pain ... Highly recommend... We Will be coming here from now on for our dental needs."

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