Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Snoring and breathing pauses during sleep are symptoms of a very serious condition called sleep apnea. People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and air flow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.

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How does sleep apnea occur?

While you are sleeping, soft tissues and muscles in the throat, tongue, and nasal passages can become very relaxed and ultimately narrow the breathing passages. This closing of airways characterizes many sleep apnea conditions. Snoring and teeth grinding are often the most noticeable symptoms of sleep apnea; however, you may also be experiencing breathing pauses of up to 10 seconds. Many people are completely unaware of these pauses in breathing unless somebody tells them they are occurring. It is very important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea and to be evaluated as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud, chronic snoring and long pauses in breath
  • Choking or gasping while sleeping
  • Feeling tired and sleepy throughout the day
  • Waking up with a headache, dry mouth or sore throat
  • Insomnia or constantly waking during the night
  • Forgetfulness, irritability or depression

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

If a patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are a number of treatment options that can reduce symptoms and improve breathing during sleep. Customized night guards or snore guards work very well to treat sleep apnea problems. These oral appliances are specifically designed to provide you with the most comfortable, customized fit for your mouth. Advanced night guards and snore guards can maintain a positive rate of airflow through your oral and nasal passages, reducing snoring and breathing pauses, and even diminishing clenching and grinding of your teeth during sleep. For patients whose snoring is disruptive to their or their partner’s sleep, we provide mouth appliances that have been designed to reduce the processes that are associated with respiratory disruptions.

Health & Quality of Life

Treating obstructive sleep apnea is very important to your health. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to your safety as it increases your risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. In addition, untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for various serious health problems.

If you suspect that you or your sleeping partner may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, we invite you to contact our office today to schedule a consultation with our experienced, caring team.


Based on the results of this questionnaire, Dr. Denison can determine a patient’s probability of suffering from sleep related disturbances, allowing him to suggest a home sleep study to confirm or rule out disturbances and develop a customized treatment plan.

Download the Sleep Apnea Quiz