Sleep Apnea Specialist

Missoula Dental

General Dentistry located in Missoula, MT

Helping you get a good night’s sleep is a priority at Missoula Dental. In Missoula, Montana, general dentist Soren Loftus, DDS, acknowledges the impact that poor breathing during sleep can have on your overall health and wellness. With a variety of treatment options including tongue-tie release, myofunctional therapy, mouth taping, or a custom dental night guard for sleep apnea, you can breathe easier and wake up feeling refreshed. Get in touch with Missoula Dental by calling the office or by scheduling your appointment online today.

Sleep Apnea Q&A

What is sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing?

Sleep disordered breathing is any disruption or restriction in your breathing as you sleep including snoring.

Sleep apnea, specifically obstructive sleep apnea, is a condition that disrupts your breathing as you sleep.

There are several types, but upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) is the most prevalent. If your snoring and sleep disordered breathing isn’t treated, it may progress to the more severe issue of obstructive sleep apnea, where you actually stop breathing multiple times throughout the night.

Fortunately, Dr. Soren can work with you to treat the underlying cause of your airway resistance or obstructive sleep apnea.

Upper airway resistance happens because of the physical structure of your airway when you lay down and relax. Even if you can breathe easily when you’re awake and alert, the position of your jaw and the tissues within and around your throat can change when you relax or fall asleep. When the tissues restrict or obstruct your airway, breathing problems can occur. 

Common signs of UARS include daytime fatigue, anxiety, adrenal fatigue and immune dysfunction, mouth breathing and difficulty breathing through your nose, headaches, tooth wear and breakage, worsening ADHD symptoms, etc. 

The most unmistakable sign of sleep apnea is breathing pauses and gasping throughout the night. While you might not notice them yourself, others around you can usually detect them. 

Plus, the lack of oxygen you get at night can affect your mental and physical wellness throughout the day. Sleep apnea and airway issues cause the brain to respond as though it’s suffocating multiple times every night and fighting for your life. You can imagine how this would lead to daytime fatigue, headaches, irritability, and depression.

Am I at risk for obstructive sleep apnea?

UARS and obstructive sleep apnea doesn’t discriminate against who it affects. Anyone can develop airway restrictions regardless of gender or age, but there are some factors that place you at a higher risk for the conditions than other people. Your risk for obstructive sleep apnea is generally higher if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Have diabetes
  • Experience weight challenges
  • Have large tonsils
  • Have a large tongue
  • Have a large neck circumference
  • Have asthma or other breathing difficulties
  • Have chronic congestion
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Consume a lot of alcohol
  • Have a tongue restriction
  • Had teeth removed for orthodontics
  • Breathe through your mouth during the day

At Missoula Dental, Dr. Soren and Holly consider factors like these while planning your treatment for upper airway resistance syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea. They also evaluate the condition’s widespread effects on your wellness, including mental and physical complications and symptoms from oxidative stress.

How can I manage the symptoms of UARS and sleep apnea?

There are many different options for managing the serious complications from UARS and sleep apnea such as adrenal fatigue, immune dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cognitive impairment.

Sometimes UARS and sleep apnea have their root cause in an undiagnosed tongue tie restriction, even in adults. This may require myofunctional therapy and a release surgery to correct.

Mouth taping or a custom oral appliance can go a long way in treating obstructive sleep apnea by assisting in holding your airway open.

Mouth taping keeps your lips closed and ensures nasal breathing. Custom oral appliances work by positioning your lower jaw forward. These help keep your airway open and unobstructed. 

Dr. Soren monitors your appliance use over time and makes sure you’re experiencing improvements with treatment. You might need to try a few appliance types before settling on one that works for you.

You can get the best results from your UARS and obstructive sleep apnea treatment by adhering to lifestyle advice from your dentist or physician, such as reducing your alcohol intake, avoiding tobacco products, or changing your sleep position. 

Getting personalized care for your sleep apnea improves mental alertness and cardiovascular health. Get in touch with Missoula Dental over the phone or book online for effective sleep apnea therapy today.