Causes of Sleep Apnea | Pecan Park Dental

Causes of Sleep Apnea | Pecan Park Dental

Many people who have sleep apnea may not even know that they are suffering from a potentially serious issue. Sleep apnea can often first be noticed because a patient is overly tired during the day even after they felt like they slept through the whole night, or their partner may notice that there is excessive snoring or periods where they stop breathing.

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where people will stop breathing several times throughout the night. There are three main types of sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea – Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles or tongue relax and block the airway. This is the most common form of sleep apnea.

  • Central sleep apnea – Central sleep apnea is a disorder that is caused by the central nervous system. As you sleep, your brain doesn’t send the signals that trigger you to breathe. This causes a stop in your breathing as you sleep.

  • Complex sleep apnea – This disorder is a combination of the other two disorders. Cessations in breathing can happen at the same time or occur at different times causing a large increase in the number of times that a patient isn’t breathing throughout the night.


Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

If you think that you may have sleep apnea, it is important to talk to your doctor. There are some simple tests that your doctor can conduct in order to evaluate the presence and severity of sleep apnea in patients. Sleep studies are often conducted and will track a patient’s breathing patterns through the night. Your doctor can interpret this study and identify the number of times and the duration of each period. These factors are important in considering how to treat your condition.


Causes of Sleep Apnea

The causes of the different types of sleep apnea can differ. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the muscles in the back of your throat relaxing. These muscles support the soft palate, so when they relax, your airway can become more constricted or even completely blocked. In this case, your brain typically recognizes that there is a reduction in the amount of oxygen that it is receiving and will trigger you to wake up and take a breath. These periods are often so brief that you don’t even remember them, but they can occur between five and thirty times every single hour for the entire time you are asleep.

Central sleep apnea is caused because the brain is not triggering you to take regular breaths. As the oxygen levels decrease in your body, you eventually wake up to take another gasping breath.

Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Although waking up several times throughout the night might sound like more of an irritation than a danger, it can have devastating effects. Minor issues generally consist of general fatigue, increased irritability, but can quickly lead to higher blood pressure, heart and liver problems, Type 2 Diabetes and many other conditions.

If you think that you may have sleep apnea or exhibit any of the signs of sleep apnea, it is important to visit your doctor right away.

Correcting Sleep Apnea

There are many different products that can help correct sleep apnea. Many people commonly choose to use a C-PAP device. This is a medical device that uses a tight-fitting mask and then blows air into your airway throughout the night to ensure that you are getting enough oxygen. However, these machines can be bulky, prone to getting you sick, and some people can’t tolerate wearing the mask. You may also be able to visit with your dentist to look at some dental devices that can help hold your airway open without having to use an expensive and cumbersome machine.


If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should visit with your dentist before making the final determination on how to treat the condition. Your dentist may be able to offer a simpler solution to correct your sleep apnea and get you back to a good night’s rest. Learn more about treatment options by visiting, or give this top dental practice in Arlington, TX. Dr. Bangs is an expert dentist, and would love to meet you. Call 817-873-3300.