How Your Dentist Can Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Today, obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, affecting over 39 million American adults. Sleep apnea happens when the patient's breathing stops and starts at night. The patient may gasp and choke as they try to take a breath.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when tissue blocks the airway during sleep. It is more common in men, older patients, and those with excess weight. It can be dangerous because it frequently causes high blood pressure and lower oxygen levels in the body.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea stems from blockages in the upper airway. These blockages may occur due to excess weight-related tissue or overly relaxed muscles. For example, the tongue may fall backward during sleep and block the airway.

Certain behavioral and medical issues can worsen obstructive sleep apnea. These factors include advanced age, hormone changes, family history, and cleft lip or palate. Patients with enlarged tonsils or a large tongue could encounter obstructive sleep apnea. Patients who smoke or consume alcohol may have a higher risk of sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

How Your Care Team Diagnoses Sleep Apnea

If you have any of the symptoms above, it is a good idea to talk to your dentist about your risk of sleep apnea. Your dentist will work with your primary care physician to order a sleep study, where you will sleep in a laboratory setting. A sleep study can definitively diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.

You will return to your dentist for treatment after receiving a positive diagnosis and a thorough medical exam to check for complications.

Available Treatment Methods

For mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea, changing habits such as consuming alcohol, quitting smoking, and trying to lose weight can help.

Queens Crown Dental offers custom-made sleep appliances that adjust the lower jaw in a forward position during sleep, preventing tissue from collapsing into the airway and blocking air.

If the oral appliance is ineffective, we can arrange CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treatment using an at-home machine. Wearing a CPAP mask at night helps to keep the airway open by providing a constant stream of air.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea

What happens if I do not treat sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can endanger your physical health. If you have uncontrolled sleep apnea, you may be more likely to develop serious cardiac health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Sleep apnea may also cause you to lose alertness during the day, potentially causing accidents.

How can I stop sleep apnea?

Using the treatment methods above should help a great deal. If they are not enough, surgical options may be available.

Call Queens Crown Dental

If you feel your snoring is excessive or have encountered other symptoms, do not hesitate to call us for a sleep apnea evaluation. We can answer your questions and help you toward healthier sleep. Please call our Honolulu, HI, office at 808-526-2800 for an appointment today.

Can You Cure Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that doctors cannot fully cure, except where the sole cause lies in lifestyle factors like smoking or excess body weight. However, physicians and dentists offer several viable treatment plans that can reduce your symptoms to a manageable level.

About Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a highly common form of the disorder. While patients with this condition sleep, they experience repeated stops and starts in breathing.

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when throat muscles repeatedly relax during the night, blocking your airway and disturbing your sleep.

Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

You may have sleep apnea if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:

Consult your physician or dentist if you show these symptoms. They can evaluate you for signs of the condition.

Possible Risks and Complications

Obstructive sleep apnea is much more serious than loud snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea keeps your body from receiving enough oxygen during sleep. The effects of oxygen debt can lead to many serious health conditions, including the following:

Available Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatments

Obstructive sleep apnea typically needs medical attention. Fortunately, dentists and physicians prescribe several treatment types for obstructive sleep apnea. If you explore these treatments, you may experience significant relief.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, reversing lifestyle habits like smoking and excess weight can remove the cause of obstructive sleep apnea. Excess tissue in the throat may block the airway, and smoking may aggravate obstructive sleep apnea.

Quitting or losing weight may help you overcome the disorder's worst effects, but it will come back if you regain the weight or start smoking again. 

Oral Appliance Therapy

Many dentists prescribe oral appliance therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea. An oral appliance custom-fitted to your mouth helps your lower jaw stay forward during sleep, keeping the airway open.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

If these suggested lifestyle changes and oral appliance therapy are not enough to bring relief, many physicians recommend CPAP systems to use at night. CPAP provides a constant stream of air into the nose or mouth that keeps the airway from collapsing.


In cases where the above treatments do not work, surgical treatment may help.

Call Queen's Crown Dental

If you or your family members inform you that you have any of the symptoms in this article, you should consider receiving a sleep apnea evaluation. Please don't hesitate to call our Honolulu, HI, office at  808-526-2800  to make an appointment to discuss sleep apnea.

How Can I Tell If I Have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition causing breathing problems while you sleep. It can interfere with your natural sleep cycles and prevent you from getting quality, restful sleep. Many people are unaware that they have sleep apnea because they are asleep when the most obvious of the symptoms occur. 

How do you know if you have sleep apnea? Look for the following signs and symptoms and ask your partner if they’ve noticed any of them as well. 

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes blocked while you’re sleeping enough that you stop breathing for seconds at a time. The soft tissues of your mouth and throat tend to relax and partially collapse when you sleep, especially when you lay on your back. This causes a blockage to your airway that can lead to snoring and sometimes complete interruptions of your breathing. 

As your brain registers the lack of oxygen, you wake up enough to change positions and resume breathing. You are often completely unaware that you have woken up. But these frequent interruptions to your natural sleep cycles prevents you from getting quality sleep. 

Common Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is characterized by the following symptoms: 

Treatment for Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea can be treated in different ways. Common sleep apnea treatments include: 

Many patients find that an oral appliance is sufficient to stop snoring and improve their breathing at night. Other patients with severe sleep apnea may need a CPAP machine. A sleep study performed by a sleep specialist may offer more information about your individual sleep issues. 

What Should I Do if I Think I Have Sleep Apnea?

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, contact Queens Crown Dental. We can diagnose sleep apnea and provide you with a custom oral appliance to wear at night to keep your airway open and help you get better quality sleep. Many satisfied patients have found relief from snoring and feel more rested and energized throughout the day. 

Call 808-526-2800 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.