How Your Dentist Can Diagnose Sleep Apnea

How Your Dentist Can Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Team Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that affects as many as 39 million American adults. The condition occurs when the patient's airway becomes intermittently blocked during sleep. As the patient tries to breathe, they may choke and gasp.

Obstructive sleep apnea can be hazardous because it restricts oxygen flow to the brain and vital organs. Sleep apnea patients frequently develop high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart attack.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When a patient experiences obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, their airway becomes temporarily blocked. This condition can happen due to relaxed muscle tone, obesity causing excess throat tissue, or due to genetic factors. Changes in hormone levels and large tonsils may also contribute to sleep apnea.


  • Loud snoring that may disturb partners or family members
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Gasping and choking when waking at night
  • Partners or family members observing breathing pauses during sleep
  • High blood pressure
  • Waking with a headache, dry mouth, or sore throat
  • Trouble with daytime functioning, including focus problems and mood changes

Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Patients who observe one or more of the above symptoms should see a medical professional as soon as possible. A dentist can diagnose you by studying your symptoms. They can also evaluate your mouth and throat for conditions that may cause sleep apnea.

At Dental Associates, LLP, we work with trusted local physicians to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. A physician may prescribe a sleep study or other tests. They can also help you with surgical options.

Treatment Options

Oral Appliance Therapy

Dentists prescribe custom oral appliances to help keep the jaw positioned so that the tongue does not fall back and block the airway. This simple intervention can help many mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Many patients find CPAP machines helpful. CPAP masks create a constant stream of air that keeps the airway open at night.


Patients with excess tissue at the back of their throats can also benefit from surgical intervention.

Frequently Asked Questions About Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What happens if obstructive sleep apnea goes untreated?

The longer a patient experiences sleep apnea symptoms, the more likely they will develop complications. Over time, the cumulative effect of oxygen debt will stress the cardiovascular system and cause serious health conditions.

How can I cure sleep apnea?

Most patients choose supportive treatments like CPAP and oral appliance therapy. If you are a candidate for surgery, you may experience complete symptom relief but should remain under medical supervision.

Call Dental Associates, LLP

If your partner or a family member informs you that you snore loudly or if you have any other symptoms, please call our Farmington, CT, office at 860-677-8666. We can schedule a consultation with one of our expert doctors to diagnose and treat your problem.