Our Saint Louis Dentists Explains How Sleep Apnea Occurs

Written by Dr. Grayem on Mar 6, 2018

 Sleep apnea can be a sneaky, hard-to-identify threat to a patient’s dental and overall health.

Our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists are here with some information about why sleep apnea develops and how it presents. We hope that this short article helps you identify sleep apnea issues in your own life, so that you can seek prompt treatment for this common problem!

The Underlying Issue

Sleep apnea occurs when a patient’s oral tissues relax during sleep. The relaxed tissues fall into the patient’s airway, and make it difficult for the patient to inhale enough oxygen throughout the night.

The Symptoms

As the patient’s blood oxygen levels drop during the night, the patient will briefly wake in order to restart the breathing process. You may or may not remember waking, but, regardless, your sleep is being disrupted. You may suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and concentration problems
  • Dry mouth upon waking
  • Loud and disruptive snoring
  • Sensations of gasping or choking awake in the night


The traditional treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine; this machine forces air past the obstruction throughout the night. The problem is that this type of machine is quite cumbersome, and, because the patient must wear a face mask, uncomfortable. 

Our dental team provides CPAP-alternative oral appliances to help guide the patient’s mouth into a healthier position, so that the airway remains unobstructed. These effective mouth pieces are much more patient-friendly than traditional CPAP machines.

When sleep apnea is left untreated, the symptoms can intensify, and the patient can develop a number of health issues as a result. If you think that you may be dealing with sleep apnea, our Saint Louis sleep apnea dentists strongly encourage you to reach out for an assessment and treatment as soon as possible. 

You can always contact our team by calling our office, or by using the Contact Us page on our website. We’re here to help you sleep soundly again!