What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Oct 25th, 2017 | By | Category: Blog

tired businessman yawning struggling from sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious sleep disorder that causes individuals to have abnormal breathing patterns. It can even result in pauses of breathing that last a few seconds or up to several minutes multiple times a night. When the soft tissues in the back of the throat (tonsils, uvula, and tongue) collapse, it closes off the air passageway and causes OSA. The rate and length as to which these cessations occur differ amongst patients, but the end result is lack of sleep and poor health. Untreated sleep apnea can also result in teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and damaged teeth. People with this condition are typically unaware they have it unless a loved one notices snoring followed by loud gasps for air throughout the night. It is estimated that over 40 million people suffer from some form of sleep apnea.

While Drs. Claudia and Alex Denes cannot diagnose sleep apnea, they will be aware of any changes in your teeth caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching. If sleep apnea is suspected, they may recommend you to a sleep specialist in the area. To learn more about how to treat sleep apnea, read on, or contact our Fresno, CA office today online or by calling 559-297-1294.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

While lack of sleep is one of the leading symptoms of sleep apnea, other common side effects can include:

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Cracked molars
  • Teeth grinding and jaw clenching
  • Weight gain
  • Sore throat upon waking
  • Dry mouth
  • Trouble concentrating or staying awake during the day
  • Depression and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Loud snoring

Who is at Risk of OSA?

While anyone can be diagnosed with OSA, you may be at a higher risk if you smoke, have a family history of OSA, or are obese. Other risk factors to be aware of include:

  • Age – it is frequently diagnosed in middle-aged adults
  • Demographics – it is typically seen in males more than females
  • Health conditions – individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes are more likely to develop sleep apnea
  • Body type – people who are obese, have short necks, excess throat tissues, or a deviated septum tend to struggle from sleep apnea
  • Lifestyle habits – people who smoke or consume alcohol excessively are more prone to develop sleep apnea

Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If a sleep study reveals that you are struggling from a mild to moderate case of sleep apnea, Dr. Denes can design a custom-made oral device that will fit comfortably over your top and bottom teeth. This device should be worn while sleeping. It will not only prevent your teeth from grinding against each other, but it will also hold your jaw in a forward, relaxed position allowing your airway to remain open. If any molars have been damaged as a result of your teeth grinding, Dr. Denes can apply dental crowns to reinforce their structural integrity and protect them from any further damage. By wearing a customized oral device, you can gain a better night’s sleep and lower your risk for developing more serious systemic conditions.

Improve Your Sleep

If you have recently received a sleep apnea diagnosis and are looking for a conservative approach, contact our Fresno, CA office today online or by calling 559-297-1294 to meet with Dr. Denes about our customized oral devices.


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