Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment in Portland OR

Do you snore and keep your partner up at night? Many patients report having to sleep in separate rooms because of loud snoring, which interrupts intimacy and diminishes your quality of life.

Do you find yourself tired or unable to concentrate on tasks throughout the day? A lot of people who suffer from chronic fatigue discover that they feel exhausted by the afternoon, and it's challenging to complete their work or daily tasks.

Do you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines that affect the quality of your life? Some people wake up in the morning and start their day with debilitating headaches.

Did you know that sleep apnea can cause these symptoms and many others?

Your team at NE Dental Associates can help. Whether it might be you or a loved one suffering from sleep apnea, read on to learn more about this debilitating sleep disorder, or contact your Portland, OR dentist at (503) 506-7933 to learn more about how we can help you get the good night's rest you need.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Snoring is a nuisance, and it can also indicate the presence of a sleep condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea occurs when the structure and tissue at the back of the throat relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. A blocked airway causes the vibrations you hear when someone snores and can become so blocked that it stops you from breathing altogether. The lack of oxygen signals your brain to wake your body up to start breathing again. These episodes can happen multiple times throughout the night without you even realizing it.

OSA is the most common form of sleep apnea that keeps millions of Americans from getting the rest they need at night to rejuvenate their bodies and minds.

Is sleep apnea affecting your daily life?

It can be hard to diagnose sleep apnea on your own since the telltale signs take place while you are asleep. It is often helpful to have a partner let you know if you're snoring loudly, coughing, or waking up gasping for air throughout the night. Sleep apnea also significantly impacts your daily life. Since you're not getting the rest your body needs, you may experience:

  • Frequent headaches, especially in the morning
  • Dry mouth or a sore throat when you wake up
  • Chronic fatigue - even if you slept throughout the night
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Difficulty concentrating, focusing or remembering things
  • Insomnia or fitful sleeping

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, sleep apnea may be the cause.

How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?

For an accurate OSA diagnosis, you will need to make an appointment with your physician for a referral to an accredited sleep specialist to perform a sleep study. In most cases, you can take a small unit home that will monitor your sleep cycles and oxygen levels throughout the night. Occasionally, sleep specialists will recommend an overnight sleep clinic study.

Once the sleep specialist interprets the results, they will provide you with treatment options, usually beginning with continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy.

If I snore, do I have sleep apnea?

Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea and vice versa. Snoring that is associated with sleep apnea is typically loud enough to wake your bed partner up or keep them from sleeping during the night.

Other signs of sleep apnea include pauses in your breathing, choking, coughing, or waking up with a gasp for air. Often, your bed partner can help monitor these signs and symptoms of sleep apnea while you sleep.

Who is at risk for developing sleep apnea?

Anyone can develop sleep apnea, even children. However, people who are smokers, are overweight, or have a family history of sleep apnea are more likely to develop the condition. It is also more typical in men than in women. The important thing is to be aware of the signs so you can diagnose your sleep disorder, seek the proper treatment, and protect your health and well-being.

Some steps or measures you can take on your own to prevent sleep apnea are:

  • Regular exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Avoid large, heavy meals and caffeine within two hours of bedtime
  • Keep normal sleeping hours
  • Avoid sedatives, alcohol, or sleeping pills that cause throat muscles to relax and block your airway

How does sleep apnea affect your overall health?

Sleep apnea is a condition that impacts every aspect of your life. When you don't get the rest your body needs, it becomes hard to focus whether you're at work or dealing with personal relationships. 

When breathing during sleep is interrupted, the brain receives a signal to wake up, disturbing the natural sleep cycle and reducing restorative sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing also deprives the body of the oxygen it needs to function optimally, resulting in some serious health conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Weight gain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Premature death

Treating sleep apnea can improve your overall health and quality of life and your dentist in Portland, OR can help. Feeling tired all the time is no way to live.

How is sleep apnea treated?

CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy is the standard of care for treating patients with sleep apnea. CPAP therapy requires patients to wear a face mask during sleep that uses a steady flow of pressurized air to keep the airway open. Unfortunately, many patients find the face mask cumbersome and take it off during the night or fail to wear it at all, leaving them unprotected.

Our dentists, Dr. Clark Brinton, and Dr. Paul E. Ortiz provide patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea with an alternative – oral appliance therapy. We design custom snoring and sleep apnea appliances in our Portland dental office.

Snore guards and sleep apnea devices gently reposition the lower jaw, opening the airway for an improved flow of oxygen. Because your appliance is made just for you, it will stay in place during sleep, and it's comfortable and easy to wear throughout the night. Many of our patients find that this method of controlling and reducing sleep apnea is far more convenient, especially for traveling.

Patients suffering from more severe cases of sleep apnea may find that a combination of CPAP therapy and oral appliance therapy provides them with the most effective treatment for their sleep disorder. Dr. Brinton and Dr. Ortiz are happy to work closely with your general physician to ensure that you receive the best possible treatment for your sleep apnea.

Are you longing for restful sleep?

Contact us to book an appointment with one of our Portland sleep apnea dentists to learn more about alternatives to CPAP therapy. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances for patients who are non-compliant or request an alternative to CPAP therapy. Give us a call at (503) 506-7933 and look forward to waking up refreshed!