Sleep/Snoring: Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Sleep Study

A sleep study is often advised if someone has sleep apnea symptoms, which can contribute to a wide range of health problems. At Med City Dental, we screen for risks of sleep apnea and proper breathing using sleep studies. We believe dentists are the first line of defense and screening for problems that interfere with breathing and a good night’s sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a surprisingly common condition that affects your ability to get a restful night’s sleep by interfering with breathing. When sleeping, the muscles in the back of the throat relax. In some individuals, the tongue falls back into the throat, temporarily blocking the air passage. In response, the brain forces the person to wake up, often for only a second, which is all that is needed to restart breathing. This constant cycle of sleeping and partially waking throughout the night results in exhaustion.

Sleep apnea is often first suspected when an individual’s sleeping partner comments on how loudly they snore or that they frequently seem to stop breathing for several seconds throughout the night. One of the most effective snoring treatments is CPAP, which corrects sleep apnea and minimizes or eliminates snoring. Some patients do not respond to CPAP or cannot tolerate the cumbersome mask. For these individuals, oral appliances and other treatments are more effective.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring, particularly excessively loud snoring.
  • Exhaustion or fatigue when waking up.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching.
  • Inability to concentrate or a “brain fog.”
  • Depression or anxiety that is not attributed to other reasons.
  • Waking up throughout the night (you may not notice this, but your partner might).
  • Breathing pauses while asleep (often noticed by your partner).
  • Night sweats and restless sleep.
  • Headaches or jaw pain on waking.

It is important to note that you may have only a few of the symptoms listed above. If you have any of these that negatively impact your life, a sleep study at Med City Dental can determine your sleep apnea. 

Negative Effects of Sleep Apnea

The mental toll of sleep apnea can be considerable. Without enough rest, individuals with sleep apnea find concentrating challenging, affecting their work and relationships. Forgetfulness or brain fog leads to frustration and stress. Sleep loss then aggravates stress, creating a difficult cycle to overcome unless sleep apnea is treated.

Obstructive sleep apnea is also associated with the following diseases:

  • Hypertension
  • Arterial Fibrillation
  • Pacemakers
  • Diabetes
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Obesity
  • Drug resistant hypertension
  • Night time heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Heart arrhythmias

How Can My Dentist Help Diagnose Sleep Apnea?

The most definitive way to diagnose sleep apnea is through sleep testing. However, Dr. Funke may see symptoms that indicate possible sleep apnea during your dental checkup.

Worn or weak teeth may result from clenching or grinding them, a frequent symptom of sleep apnea. A shrinking or small lower jaw may also indicate damage from teeth clenching. If the tongue blocks the airway while sleeping, it can become scalloped or uneven along the edges. Finally, a chronically red or irritated throat may indicate sleep apnea or damage from snoring. If Dr. Funke sees any of these symptoms, he will ask the patient about their sleep habits to determine whether sleep apnea may be the issue.

If sleep apnea seems likely, Dr. Funke will recommend sleep testing and for a definite diagnosis by a physician. At Med City Dental, we use the WatchPAT One system to allow patients to sleep in their own beds and remain comfortable during their sleep study. It conveniently syncs with your smartphone and uploads for Dr. Funke and the interpreting physician to see. 

The WatchPAT One Sleep Study

The WatchPAT One is a simple device worn while sleeping to monitor your breathing and other metrics to monitor breathing, position changes, oximetry, snoring, chest motion, and heart rate. The device features a small transmitter and small wrist, chest, and finger sensors. It can be worn at home and is disposable after use. The WatchPAT One sends data over your cell phone and the cloud directly to Dr. Funke for interpretation and diagnosis.

 If sleep-disordered breathing is suspected, Dr. Funke will have the results interpreted by a licensed physician. A medical diagnosis, as well as treatment recommendations, will be given by the licensed physician. Dr. Funke works closely with physicians to develop an effective treatment plan for each individual.

Treatment Options

Your sleep study results will be used to determine the appropriate treatment. Treatment may include myofunctional therapy, sleep position training, lip and tongue tie release, or appliance therapy. Dr. Funke can fabricate customized oral appliances and treatments to help decrease your risks of sleep apnea.

Please call us at Med City Dental Office Phone Number 507-289-8707 if you suspect you or your loved one may have or be at risk of sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea.


We Are Here To Help!

Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Call us: 507-289-8707