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Sleep apnea

is a potentially severe medical condition in which a person's breathing stops during sleep, sometimes for up to 10 seconds and as many as 30 times per hour.

The most common symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring but individuals with sleep apnea may experience additional symptoms including: 

  • Difficulty sleeping through the night

  • Irritability

  • Nighttime Urination

  • Sore throat and/or dry mouth upon waking

  • Snorting or chocking during sleep

  • Waking headaches

  • Waking up short of breath

Types of Sleep Apnea:


Obstructive sleep (OSA) which is caused by a physical blockage such as tongue movement or the collapse of soft tissue in the back of the throat. 

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) a less common form of sleep apnea in which breathing stops because the muscles involved in respiration doesn't receive signals from the brain.

Some individuals may experience a combination of OSA and CSA. Because the frequent wake-ups of sleep apnea are brief, many people who suffer from the condition don't remember them and

may be unsure as to why they are experiencing some of the symptoms listed above.

Dangers of Sleep Apnea:

In addition to interfering with the sleep cycle, untreated sleep apnea can contribute to health issues including high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The chronic fatigue associated with sleep apnea can also lead to lack of alertness at work or in school, or difficulty driving a car or operating other machinery.

Anyone can develop sleep apnea regardless of age or gender, however, the condition is more common among adult males. 

Other factors that increase the risk of sleep apnea include:

  • Deviated septum or other nasal obstructions

  • Family history of sleep apnea

  • High blood pressure

  • Obesity

  • Regular alcohol consumption

  • Sedative use 

  • Smoking

Although sleep apnea may not be considered an orthodontic problem, the condition can be treated with orthodontic appliances. Treatments vary based on a number of individual factors, including the cause and severity of your sleep apnea. A sleep apnea consultation at Portland Pearl Orthodontics can help to determine the best treatment for you.

Oral Appliances Vs. CPAP:

CPAP treatment for sleep apnea entails the patient wearing a mask during sleep. A small blower circulates air through the mask and into the throat, maintaining continuous airflow. Although effective, CPAP masks can be uncomfortable and difficult to acclimate to. Most sleep apnea patients who try CPAP do not continue use long term. 

Oral Appliances, however, are similar to sports mouth-guards and orthodontic devices like Invisalign. They fit comfortably over your teeth and are worn during sleep, most patients adapt quickly to their use. We offer the following devices:

  • EMA 

  • Silent Nite

  • TAP I

  • TAP II


Some sleep apnea appliances are designed specifically to keep the tongue from moving and blocking the airway during sleep. Other devices are intended to support the jaw, maintaining its proper resting position and promoting proper airflow. While Oral Appliances are successful for many individuals, no single sleep apnea treatment works for everyone. Only a comprehensive exam with an orthodontist experienced in treating sleep apnea with oral appliances can determine the best option for you.

Call us at 503-944-9374 to schedule your consultation today.

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