What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?

Lake Oswego Dentist Serving Portland, & Nearby West Linn, OR

There is a condition that affects millions of Americans and many don't even know they suffer from it. This condition is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by the frequent pauses in breathing during sleep.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is caused by the closing off of the airway by the soft palate and tongue. This creates difficulty breathing and loss of sleep. The blocked airway cause the sufferer to move from deep sleep to light sleep. Excessive fatigue during the day is experienced since the person doesn't get enough sleep during the night.

In some major cases of sleep apnea, the brain neglects to tell the breathing muscles to work and the sufferer does not breathe. This can cause death and is a dangerous condition.

There are many symptoms of sleep apnea. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty thinking and remembering

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

There are many treatments available for sleep apnea. For severe cases, the CPAP uses air under pressure to help regulate the airway while sleeping. This helps keep air passages open and reduces the risks involved with sleep apnea. The CPAP uses a mask that is often uncomfortable to sleep in.

For mild to moderate sleep apnea there are various patented appliances that bring the lower jaw forward to open the airway. Sufferers find these appliances to be more comfortable than the CPAP, but with the susceptible people, long term wear can lead to various problems like TMJ disorders.

An exciting alternative that treats the primary underlying cause of sleep apnea is the DNA appliance™. Most sleep apnea sufferers exhibit underdeveloped jaws. There can be a multitude of explanations for this condition. Some of them are:

  1. Not being breast fed as an infant
  2. Growing up in a household with smokers
  3. Undiagnosed lactose intolerance
  4. Tonsils and adenoids not being removed where indicated
  5. Orthodontic treatment which included the removal of permanent teeth

The DNA appliance™ essentially triggers the body to start growing again and can actually cure sleep apnea by removing the cause.

Find out more about Sleep Apnea Symptoms.

Read about the Causes and Prevention of Snoring.

Learn more on our Common Questions about Sleep Apnea page.

A trained neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Sue Wendling in Oregon will help you decide the proper treatment for your sleep apnea. Please contact Wendling Cosmetic and Reconstructive Dentistry today.

Dr. Wendling was featured in this article in Dentistry Today.

Portland Cosmetic Dentist

17437 Boones Ferry Road Suite 400
Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035