Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment

Florida: Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach

Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition suffered by as many as 18 million Americans, the majority of whom do not know they have it. In sleep apnea, a person ceases breathing while sleeping. The breathing stops for long enough to cause the sufferer to awake enough to resume breathing, and must occur at least five times in an hour for a person to be clinically diagnosed as a sleep apnea sufferer.

Snoring Treatment

Snoring is caused by the constriction of airflow through the airways. As the air rushes through the narrow passage, it causes the soft tissue around the airway to vibrate. The vibration is what we hear as snoring. Constriction of the airways at night is caused by the relaxation of the muscles that keep the airway open. In many cases, the collapse of the airways can be prevented by a proper positioning of the jaw. Snoring & sleep apnea dentist Dr. Chris Williams can give you an orthotic that will put your jaw in the proper position, keeping the airways open and stopping your snoring.

Snoring can be related to the potentially deadly condition sleep apnea. About 30% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea.

Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea has two immediate effects. First, it reduces the amount of sleep you get. If you are starting awake dozens of times a night, you are not getting as much sleep as you need, as much as one hour less. Sleep apnea also leads to periods of low blood oxygen, which forces the heart to work harder to try and deliver more blood and oxygen. These two immediate effects of sleep apnea have numerous potentially severe consequences, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Cognitive difficulties including impaired memory and lack of concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle pain
  • Fibromyalgia

Studies have shown that sleep apnea sufferers have an elevated risk of being involved in injurious and fatal car accidents. They have also shown that sleep apnea may be a more significant risk factor for heart disease than obesity and high cholesterol. An 18-year comprehensive study of 30-60 year-old apneics showed that people with mild to moderate sleep apnea had a death rate nearly twice that of non-apneics, and people with severe sleep apnea had a death rate five times that of the general population.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Although most sleep apnea sufferers also snore, many do not. Sleep apnea sufferers often audibly choke and wake briefly, which is more likely to be observed by cosleepers than by the apnea sufferer. However, the most common symptom of sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness and the feeling that a person is never able to get enough rest.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a physician through sleep studies using a polysomnogram. This device measures a number of characteristics of your sleeping patterns, including your breathing rate and the oxygen levels in your blood.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

There are two forms of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea results from a collapsing of the soft tissues in the throat when the body relaxes during sleep. Central sleep apnea is a condition in which the brain stops sending signals telling the lungs to breathe during sleep. Central sleep apnea is often treated with drugs like acetazolamide and, less commonly, theophylline.

Obstructive sleep apnea has a wider variety of treatments. Mild sleep apnea often responds to behavioral therapy, such as weight loss or changes in diet and habits.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in which air is pumped into the airway during sleep via a facemask apparatus. The pressure keeps airways open during sleep, allowing the sufferer to sleep normally. However, only about a third of sleep apnea sufferers actually get good results from CPAP treatment. They either find the machine as disruptive to sleep as the apnea, or they suffer complications such as respiratory infections and facial irritation that induce them to stop CPAP.

For many people who do not tolerate CPAP, orthotic mouthpieces similar to those used to treat some forms of TMD can realign the jaw and with it the soft tissue of the throat, preventing airway collapse. Without a facemask assembly and the pressure pump, orthotics are often a much better solution not only for the sufferer, but also for cosleepers as well.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, your life is at risk. If you receive treatment, you can dramatically reduce your risk from the dangerous complications of the condition. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact our snoring and sleep apnea dentist Dr. Chris Williams in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, today for a consultation.


391 14th Avenue South
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
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391 14th Avenue South
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250