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What is Sleep Apnea?
North Syracuse, NY


Male patient of Mahar Dental in North Syracuse, NY standing in front of question marksAs patients learn more about the symptoms and long term effects of sleep apnea, they are increasingly looking for solutions. At Mahar Dental we can offer solutions that can be as simple as wearing a small device while you sleep. Sleep apnea often originates as an oral health issue that can lead to larger problems throughout your body.

Types of Sleep Apnea


In general, sleep apnea is categorized as Obstructive, Central or a combination of both. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form. OSA occurs when the airway is blocked, not allowing necessary oxygen levels to pass. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) is less common, it is associated with severe illnesses and is a negative response in the brain that causes the person to cease breathing. CSA has been seen in newborn babies, and it is related to their brain stem.

In dentistry, when we discuss sleep apnea, we are referring to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. When a person is sleeping and their airway is obstructed, they may get reduced oxygen or no oxygen. The brain notes this decline in oxygen and jarrs the person just enough to make them gasp for a large intake of air. Though the person doesn’t wake entirely, they wake enough to bring them out of REM. This can happen multiple times in the night, and often means that the person is not getting the rest they need. We invite you to talk to our team, your oral health experts about the signs, symptoms and treatment for sleep apnea.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea is a phrase used to indicate that the patient ceases to breathe when sleeping. In most cases, it’s not due to a brain or nerve issue, but due to either excessive tissue in and around the throat or due to the tongue collapsing back toward the throat when sleeping. Sleep apnea can cause a person several frustrations that can also be hazardous to their health. This can include:
•  Snoring: Snoring does not always mean the patient suffers from sleep apnea, but it can be a loud symptom. Snoring is a sign that air is reverberating on the tissue in the airway, patients with obstructive sleep apnea may snore loudly followed by periods of silence and then gasping for air.
•  Dry Mouth or Sore Throat: If you are waking with a dry mouth or a sore throat, it could be a sign of snoring while you slept. This could be a symptom of sleep apnea, or at least something to take note of when examining your symptoms.
•  Headaches: People with sleep apnea frequently wake with headaches because they are not getting the full nights rest that they need.
•  Difficulty Concentrating during the Day: Whether you are aware of waking frequently in the night or not, if you have sleep apnea, it can cause small frequent disturbances in your sleep each night. This disrupts your REM rest and can cause symptoms of exhaustion during the day including difficulty in concentration.
•  Exhaustion: Patients often report sleeping a full night and yet never being well rested. This is because of their frequent disturbances of their brain rousing them to take a breath. Though they are in their bed for eight hours, they are not getting the rest their body needs.
•  High Blood Pressure: The stress of lack of sleep, headaches, moments of decreased oxygen and more causes people to experience an increase in blood pressure. This overworks the heart and can eventually cause larger health issues.

Sleep Apnea Treatment


We have options to help you get the rest you need through opening your airway. Following an examination, we can discuss if your sleep apnea is due to excessive tissue or how your tongue is positioned. We provide both non-surgical and surgical treatments to help.

For more information, contact our North Syracuse office at (315) 766-2770.


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