Sleep Apnea Dentistry

Northwest Portland, The Pearl District and Downtown Portland

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

If you suffer from sleep apnea, each time your breathing stops the resulting lack of oxygen triggers your brain to jar you awake and resume your normal breathing. This cycle of interrupted sleep prevents the healthy, regular sleep patterns necessary to function properly during the day and can contribute to other health problems.

Although sleep apnea may not be considered an orthodontic problem, the condition can be effectively treated with orthodontic appliances. Portland, Oregon, orthodontist Dr. JD Miller of Portland Pearl Orthodontics has effectively treated numerous patients suffering from sleep apnea with the use of oral appliances.

Types of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is typically categorized as:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (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 don’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 sleep apnea don’t remember them and may be unsure why they have symptoms such as chronic drowsiness. For more about the signs of sleep apnea, please see our Sleep Apnea Symptoms page.

Dangers of Sleep Apnea

In addition to interfering with the sleep cycle, untreated sleep apnea can contribute to health problems including high blood pressure and an increased risk for heart attack or 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.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

Although anyone can develop sleep apnea regardless of age or gender, the condition is more common among adult males. Other factors that can increase the risk for sleep apnea include:

  • Deviated septum or other nasal obstructions
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Regular alcohol consumption
  • Sedative use
  • Smoking

Sleep Apnea Treatment

There are a number of sleep apnea treatment options, including the following oral appliances:

  • TAP I
  • TAP II
  • Silent Nite

Treatments vary based on a number of individual factors, including the cause and severity of your sleep apnea. A sleep apnea consultation with Dr. Miller can help determine the best treatment for you.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon, area and would like to learn more about sleep apnea treatment, please contact the office of Portland Pearl Orthodontics.