Sleep Apnea Treatment
in Portland OR

A happy young man and woman couple, the woman is behind the man with her hand on his shoulder

What is Sleep Apnea?

People with sleep apnea stop breathing while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times per night, and sometimes for a minute or longer. With normal breathing, air passes through the nose and past the flexible structures, such as the soft palate, uvula, and tongue, in the back of the throat. When awake, the muscles hold this airway open. When asleep, these muscles relax, but the airway should remain open. In those who suffer from sleep apnea, the upper airway is blocked, causing oxygen levels to drop in both the brain and the blood.

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What Causes Sleep Apnea?

While sleeping, the airway in the throat may become partially or fully blocked, which may be caused by the following:

  • Large tongue and tonsils compared to the opening in the windpipe
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Throat and tongue muscles that are much more relaxed than normal
  • Aging, which may limit the brain’s ability to keep throat muscles stiff during sleep

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The signs of obstructive and central sleep apnea often overlap, making it difficult to diagnose without proper testing. These symptoms include the following:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — often noticed by another person
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

Sleep Apnea Patient Testimonial

“Keri is a gem. She fit me for a dental sleep appliance. They fit perfectly. The device has cured my sleep apnea. I highly recommend her.”

David H. – April 2019

Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

The frequent drops in blood-oxygen levels and reduced sleep quality caused by sleep apnea can trigger the release of stress hormones that may cause serious complications. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause headaches, daytime fatigue, and memory problems. More serious complications may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

How Do We Test For Sleep Apnea?

We are able to diagnose sleep apnea by a physical examination, review of family and medical history, and a sleep study. Our dentists at NW Heights Dental may refer you for a sleep study test. A polysomnogram (PSG) is the most common sleep study test for diagnosing sleep apnea. A PSG records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also records the amount of oxygen in the blood and air movement in the lungs during breathing and snoring.

Types Of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat closes, blocking or obstructing the airway.

Central Sleep Apnea

The airway remains open in central sleep apnea, but the brain does not send signals to the muscles involved in breathing.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed sleep apnea combines aspects of the obstructive and central types of apnea. A common warning sign of sleep apnea is snoring, especially when there are random gasps or lack of breathing in the middle of your sleeping.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

ProSomnus Sleep and Snore Device

ProSomnus Sleep and Snore is a medical device used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. This technology allows for individualization, to provide comfort to each patient. These devices are smaller, stronger, and more precise in comparison to prior intraoral sleep apnea devices. Your treatment plan is tailored to you, helping to provide maximum comfort and convenience. Oral appliance therapy is a viable alternative for most patients to the CPAP.

An image of the ProSomnus Sleep and Snore is a medical device on a model mouth An image of the ProSomnus Sleep and Snore is a medical device.

Schedule a Consultation

If you believe you or someone you know could be suffering from sleep apnea, do not hesitate to call! Contact our office at 503.646.1463 to schedule a consultation today with Dr. Smith  to discuss the best treatment option for you.


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