Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Common Symptoms


Depression & Mood Swing

Memory Problems

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OSA is linked to depression as well. When sleep is disrupted over and over, it can alter brain activity and neurochemicals that affect a person's mood and thinking. And this is the reason researchers from the study believe why the OSA sufferers showed the likeliness of 5 times of suffering from clinical depression.


“One study shows those with OSA were five times as likely to suffer from clinical depression.”


UCLA researchers found that impaired breathing during sleep can lead to a serious brain injury that disrupts memory and thinking. Their hypothesis is that during an apnea episode, the brain's blood vessels constrict, starving its tissue of oxygen and causing cellular death. The process also incites inflammation, further damages the tissue.

“UCLA Researchers found the sleep apnea patients' mammillary bodies were nearly 20% smaller, particularly on the left side.”

Dry Mouth in the Morning

Frequent Urination in the Night Time


 You will likely wake up with a dry mouth when more sleep time spent with an open mouth. When sleep apnea patients have many apnea/hypopnea episodes during a ‘sleep’ night, the instinctive physiological response to an apnea event is to open the mouth to allow as much air in as possible.

“A study shows OSA patients are twice as likely have dry mouth than those who just snore.”


During episodes of sleep apnea, the body is alerted to wake enough to reopen the airway. By this time, the heart is racing and experiences a false signal of fluid overload, excreting a hormone-like protein that tells the body to get rid of sodium and water.

“Many patients with untreated sleep apnea report 6+ nightly trips when 1~2 times during the night to urinate considered normal.”

Loud and Chronic Snoring

Daytime Sleepiness


 Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and block the airway during your sleep. It restricts the flow of oxygen and causes snoring or gasping.

 “About 50% of people who snore loudly have OSA.”


When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow during sleep, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

“Being sleepy can affect you in the same way as drinking alcohol.”

Morning Headaches


 Various pathophysiological theories have been proposed for sleep apnea headaches such as:
• Increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
• Sleep fragmentation or depression
• Changing in oxygen saturation during sleep
• Cerebral vasodilation

“Morning headache, usually bilateral and with a duration of less than 4 hours, caused by sleep apnea.”


What is Sleep Apnea?


Sleep Apnea is a chronic condition that involves an interruption of breathing during sleep.  There are several possible causes for this but the most common in adults is related to the relaxation of the throat muscles. The resulting lapse in breathing can contribute to many medical problems including: poor sleep, drowsiness and lowered levels of oxygen in the blood. As many as 18 million Americans suffer from this condition which is frequently undiagnosed and can have a significant effect on the sufferers’ health.


Why would a Dentist be involved in Sleep Apnea?


Basically for two reasons:

The first is that dentists are in a good position to help screen patients for sleep apnea which can cause dental evidence. Grinding, erosion and tongue scalloping are all things that are obvious to dentists and can suggest a breathing problem. Also, because we see our patients often it is easy to start conversations about other possible symptoms such as snoring, daytime sleepiness and gastric reflux.

The second is that there are dental treatments for sleep apnea. The Gold Standard for treatment has long been Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and this will always be an excellent treatment. Surgery is also a possible treatment. However, in mild or moderate cases of apnea or when the patient cannot tolerate these medical choices, dental options are available. These options mostly involve making an appliance for both jaws that moves the mandible down and forward during sleep.This form of therapy pulls the tongue out of the throat and is called Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT).


Why we want to help you.


Since learning about this serious medical issue that afflicts many of the people in our area we saw an opportunity to help. Treating this problem dentally involved several skills that we already had and some that we needed to learn. Now we can not only fashion the appropriate devices, we can adjust them to get maximum benefit. We can also keep records in a new (for us) medical way that enables us to bill medial insurance and Medicare. Hopefully this will help many of the folks in the North Country receive options that they would otherwise had to live without.

While we are very pleased to offer this new service we fully realize that we are entering into a partnership with our medical colleagues. Our intention is not to sidetrack our patients from pursuing the best possible treatment be it CPAP, Surgery or OAT. We just want to make sure that all the options exist.


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