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Mark J. Williamson, DDS

3355 Cherry Ridge, Ste. 216
San Antonio, Texas 78230
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What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea, and How Can a Dentist Help?

Sleeping

If you wake up in the morning feeling tired, groggy, and struggling with serious headaches, you might suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes people to stop breathing in the middle of the night. There are two separate types of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea refers to a neurological issue that causes the brain to stop sending signals that tell someone to breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea means that there is a physical obstruction that causes someone to have a difficult time breathing when they go to sleep at night.

If you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air, you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea below, and reach out to Mark J. Williamson, DDS for help treating this issue. 

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Similar to other medical conditions, the exact symptoms of sleep apnea can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • If you snore loudly at night, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Snoring develops because there is an obstacle in the airway that leads to turbulent airflow, causing you to snore loudly.
  • If someone is telling you that you stop breathing in the middle of the night, this is a sign that you have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • If you find yourself gasping for air in the middle of the night, you may suffer from sleep apnea.
  • If you wake up in the morning with a very dry mouth, this is a sign that you are breathing through your mouth instead of your nose when you sleep. This might be because there is an obstruction blocking your nasal airways, which would be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • If you wake up with headaches in the morning, this could be due to obstructive sleep apnea. The headaches stem from low oxygen levels during the night.
  • If you are tired even though you feel like you have slept all night, you may have obstructive sleep apnea.

This is a serious condition that requires a comprehensive treatment plan. 

What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

There are several risk factors that could make it more likely for you to develop obstructive sleep apnea. Some of the biggest risk factors include:

  • If you are overweight or obese, you are at a greater risk of developing sleep apnea. The fat deposits around your airway can cause your airway to collapse in the middle of the night, leading to obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common in people who are older than people who are younger. Elderly individuals are at a much greater risk of developing this condition.
  • If you have a thicker neck, you have a narrower airway. As a result, you may be at a greater risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
  • If there are other people who have developed obstructive sleep apnea in your family, you may be at risk of developing this condition as well.
  • If you drink alcohol or you set it is, you are at a greater risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Smokers are far more likely to develop effective sleep apnea than someone who has never smoked. Smoking increases the amount of inflammation in the upper airway, leading to a greater risk of developing this condition.


These are a few of the biggest risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea. If any of the factors above describe you, you may be at a higher risk of developing this condition. 

How Can a Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?

A dentist has a wide variety of tools that he or she can use to treat obstructive sleep apnea. There are a few oral appliances that have been specifically designed to change the position of your mouth, opening up your airway and making it easier to sleep at night.

One option is called a mandibular repositioning device. This is a device that will reposition your lower jaw, moving it forward and downward. It will keep your airways open while you sleep, preventing you from gasping for air in the middle of the night. These devices come in many shapes and sizes, so we can find one that is comfortable for you.

Another option is called a tongue retaining device. If you feel like your tongue is the reason why you are developing obstructive sleep apnea, this could be the option for you. It will hold your tongue in place and prevent it from blocking your airway.

Ultimately, there are a lot of options available, and it is important to work with a dentist who can figure out which option is right for you. Every person is different, and there are several treatment options available. If you have questions about which oral appliance is right for you, our team would be happy to assist you. Our goal is to help you improve your quality of life by treating this condition effectively.

Rely on Mark J. Williamson, DDS for Help With Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious issue that can impair your ability to get a good night’s sleep. This can make it hard for you to keep up at work or in school, and you might be wondering how to effectively treat this issue. At Mark J. Williamson, DDS, it would be our pleasure to help you with sleep apnea. We will take a close look at your oral health, and we will customize a treatment plan to meet your needs. 

That way, we can put you in the best position possible to recover from this condition. If you are looking for a way to get the sleep you deserve, contact us today to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you develop a treatment plan for sleep apnea.