Sleep Apnea Specialist

Momentum Dental Care

Family Dentist & Cosmetic Dentist located in Woodbridge, VA & Bristow, VA

Loud snoring can affect your relationships, causing distress for you and your partners. Chronic loud snoring is also the top symptom of sleep apnea, which leads to high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias when it goes untreated. At Momentum Dental Care, family dentist Tamesha Morris, DDS, and the team provide treatment for sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment at the practice in Woodbridge or Bristow, Virginia, call the office or use the online booking tool.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What causes sleep apnea?

When you sleep, the soft tissues in your mouth and surrounding your throat relax. As a result, they fall toward the back of your throat, where they can partially or entirely cover the airway.

When your airway is partially covered, the tissues vibrate and cause snoring.

If the airway is completely covered, you stop breathing. That’s when you have obstructive sleep apnea. The number of times you stop breathing every hour determines the severity of your sleep apnea. In severe cases, you can stop breathing more than 30 times per hour.

What symptoms develop if I have sleep apnea?

Loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Snoring doesn’t automatically mean you have a problem, but 40% of those who snore have sleep apnea. In addition to snoring, you may experience:

  • Excessive fatigue during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • The need to urinate during the night
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems

Most people with sleep apnea don’t realize they snore or that they stop breathing during the night. Their partner or others in the household are often the first to comment on loud snoring.

How do doctors diagnose sleep apnea?

Your symptoms may strongly suggest sleep apnea, but the only way to accurately diagnose the condition is with a sleep study. Most patients can do their sleep study at home.

You only need to attach the sensors to your fingers and chest and place a cannula (small tube) in your nose. Then, a device records your oxygen levels, breathing, and airflow while you sleep.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Your treatment depends on the severity of your sleep apnea and your risk factors. If your apnea is mild and you’re also overweight, losing weight may solve the problem.

Beyond lifestyle changes, sleep apnea is treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral appliance therapy. CPAP is often the first treatment recommended by doctors. You wear a mask through which oxygen is continually pumped to keep your airway open.

Oral appliances can serve as your first line of treatment or as an option if you can’t tolerate CPAP. These dental devices treat mild to moderate sleep apnea just as effectively as CPAP. After you place the appliance over your upper and lower teeth, it moves your lower jaw slightly forward. This change enlarges the airway and prevents your tongue from falling backward.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call Momentum Dental Care or schedule an appointment online today.