Understanding Chronic Sleep Apnea


While snoring is common and can often be a problem, the sleep disorder that’s frequently associated with it can be a much bigger concern. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, describes the chronic, complete obstruction of your airway, which causes you to repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night. Chronic snoring is one of the common symptoms of sleep apnea, and after seeking help for a snoring problem, many patients may be surprised to learn that their condition is even more serious. Fortunately, if you have sleep apnea, we can help you address it with a custom-designed sleep apnea appliance.

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder that involves mouth and/or throat tissues completely obstructing your airway. This occurs gradually, and as the tissues increasingly clog your airway, your breathing becomes louder and more difficult. The sound of snoring grows louder and louder, then stops once your airway is blocked. After a few moments, your body and brain will be forced to wake up enough to clear the airway, which interrupts your sleep cycle. As your body settles back down to sleep again, the obstruction will repeat itself, and this cycle can continue up to hundreds of times by the time you wake in the morning.

What are the symptoms of OSA?

There are many different risk factors to developing OSA, though the specific causes of it can vary greatly from patient to patient. However, the symptoms of sleep apnea are often similar for everyone, and can include signs such as:

  • Daytime fatigue and tiredness
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Falling asleep while at work or in class
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Dry mouth and/or sore throat in the morning
  • Decreased immune activity
  • Heightened irritability, depression, and/or anxiety
  • And more

What do I do if I think I have it?

In addition to the chronic snoring that often accompanies the condition, sleep apnea can also manifest in these and many other symptoms in your daily life. If you believe that you might have sleep apnea, or if you snore chronically and want to stop, then you should schedule a visit with your sleep dentist as soon as possible. We can perform a comprehensive examination and assessment to determine if you have sleep apnea, and if you can benefit from a custom sleep appliance to treat it.

How can an appliance treat sleep apnea?

A custom sleep appliance is designed to help support your oral structures and tissues in a way that prevents them from obstructing your airway while you sleep. Unlike traditional sleep apnea treatment, which often involves the use of a CPAP machine, a sleep appliance can provide a more comfortable and convenient way to prevent airway obstruction. If your sleep assessment reveals that you have sleep apnea, then learn about the benefits of a sleep appliance over using a conventional CPAP machine.

Learn if you have sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can have a greater effect on your quality of life and sleep than you realize at first. To learn more, schedule a sleep consultation by calling Smith Family Dentistry in Greenville, TX, today at 903-455-5750. We proudly serve patients from Hunt County, Greenville, Royce City, Sulphur Springs, and all surrounding communities.