Understanding Sleep Apnea and Its Effects

Snoring can be an annoying and troublesome trait. However, persistent snoring can affect sleep patterns, as well the overall health of the individual. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which loud snoring is interrupted by episodes of obstructed breathing. Sleep apnea can lead to extensive, systemic medical problems and conditions. Fortunately, there is hope for those who suffer from the condition: Dr. Jon Marc Van Slate provides a range of sleep apnea treatments at our Houston, TX, cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction to the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. The area in the back of the throat is a collapsible part of the airway where the tongue and throat meet the soft palate and the uvula. Snoring occurs when these areas vibrate against one another during breathing. Dental appliances can be used to reposition the jaw forward to help open the air passage and prevent snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed in patient for whom serious episodes of obstructed breathing last for more than ten seconds and occur more than seven times per hour. Severe sleep apnea patients may experience 50 or more episodes in an hour. In fact, people who suffer from sleep apnea often have difficulty sleeping through the night and don’t even realize it. These people generally awaken exhausted and have chronic sleepiness during the day. An overwhelming amount of research now confirms that sleep apnea is a very serious health risk.

Effects of Sleep Apnea

Excessive snoring and sleep apnea are not treated lightly at our Houston practice. Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to some of the following debilitating, and potentially deadly, conditions:

  • Heart attacks and irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heartburn
  • GERD (Gastroesophangeal reflux disease)
  • Morning headaches
  • Depression 
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired concentration
  • Irritability
  • Impotence
  • Night time symptoms such as drooling, restless sleeping, sweating and gasping or choking sounds. 

Treating Sleep Apnea

If we suspect that a patient has sleep apnea, we will refer them to an overnight sleep center to undergo a sleep study test, called a polysomnogram (PSG). This test helps to confirm whether a patient has sleep apnea. The gold standard for treating sleep apnea is the C-PAP machine. This machine is worn at night and delivers positive oxygen to the patient while they are sleeping. For patients who cannot tolerate a C-PAP machine and do not want to undergo other surgical procedures, we offer the Somnomed MAS, TAP, and Silent Night appliances to treat snoring and sleep apnea at our Houston practice. These appliances work by holding the lower jaw forward and open, preventing the tongue and throat tissue from collapsing the airway.

Learn More about Sleep Apnea

Whether you are looking for diagnosis or treatment of your sleep apnea, the Houston-based Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry Center of Dr. Van Slate can help. Through sleep studies and an array of treatments, Dr Van Slate has been able to help many patients correct their sleep apnea. Please contact us today to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Van Slate. We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you get better, more restful sleep.

Locate Us

Jon Marc Van Slate DDS FAGD LVIF PC

Email Us