Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by an airway blockage (obstruction) during sleep. During the day, muscles in the airway region keep the throat and airway passage open but when a patient has obstructive sleep apnea, the throat collapses during sleep, blocking the airway and preventing air from getting to the lungs. The site of obstruction in most patients is the soft palate, extending to the region at the base of the tongue.

There are no rigid structures, such as cartilage or bone, in this area to hold the airway open. So as a person with OSA falls asleep, these muscles relax to a point where the airway collapses and becomes obstructed. Although OSA is typically considered an ‘adult’ condition, there is no age boundary and apnea can affect otherwise healthy children. OSA may in fact be the root cause of childhood behavior and attention problems like ADHD. Enlarged tonsils and small structural features of the maxilla/nose, mouth and throat may contribute to childhood OSA. Proper evaluation and testing is needed for an accurate diagnosis.

What Are The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Adults

Common signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in adults include:

  • Unexplained daytime sleepiness.
  • Restless sleep.
  • Loud snoring (with periods of silence followed by gasps).

Additional symptoms of sleep apnea in adults include:

  • Morning headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety and depression.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Unexplained weight gain.
  • Nighttime urination.
  • Frequent heartburn and sweats.

Adults have been found to be at higher risk if they are:

  • Male.
  • Obese.
  • Of an increasing age.
  • Have anatomic abnormalities of the upper airway.
  • Have a family history of sleep apnea.
  • Use alcohol or sedatives frequently.
  • Are a smoker.
  • Experience hypertension.
Are you or an adult loved one potentially suffering from the symptoms of Sleep Apnea? Take our Sleep Apnea Test today!

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Children

Sleep disorders in children are conditions that prevent them from getting the oxygen needed while they sleep, creating a form of suffocation. Obstructive sleep apnea in children is being increasingly recognized as a cause of attention and behavior problems as well as learning and developmental problems.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in children include:

  • Snoring.
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Restlessness during sleep.
  • Sleeping in odd positions and neck hyperextensions.
  • Periods of not breathing.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Night terrors.
  • Mood changes.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Bed wetting.
  • Headaches.
  • Frequent infections.
  • Children with undiagnosed OSA are frequently misdiagnosed as having ADHD and placed on unnecessary medications.
Is your child possibly suffering from the symptoms of Sleep Apnea? Have them take our Sleep Apnea Test For Children today!

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a medical condition that is diagnosed by a medical doctor, but can be treated by a dentist with special understanding and training on this life threatening breathing disorder. At present, the primary method for diagnosing OSA is to have the patient undergo a sleep study, known as Polysomnography (PSG) or Home Sleep Test (HST). We are happy to assist our patients in coordination of any necessary sleep testing.

TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana provides dental sleep medicine. Dental sleep medicine is the management of medically diagnosed sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea, using oral appliance therapy for adults and orthopedic orthodontics for airway development or correction for children. Dr. VanDyke of TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana is specifically trained and experienced in dental sleep medicine.

If you or a loved one are suffering the symptoms of Sleep Apnea or any other sleep-related breathing disorder, call The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Montana we are here to help!

Call and make an appointment today! We are the experts on these conditions and we will provide you with the very best care. Improving quality of life, one patient at a time.

TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of San Diego

The Independent Doctors and Health Providers of Montana