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Sleep Apnea Specialist

Katharine Christian, DMD -  - Dental Sleep Medicine

Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center

Katharine Christian, DMD

Dental Sleep Medicine located in Belltown, Seattle, WA

Loud snoring affects your social and personal relationships, causing distress over falling asleep on airplanes or when you’re with friends overnight. Chronic loud snoring is also the top symptom of sleep apnea, which leads to high blood pressure and heart arrhythmias when it goes untreated. At Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center in Seattle, Washington, Katharine Christian, DMD, is an extensively trained Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine who can restore your health and confidence with effective treatment for sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What causes sleep apnea?

When you sleep, the soft tissues in your mouth and surrounding your throat relax. As a result, they fall toward the back of your throat, where they can partially or completely cover the airway.

When your airway is partially covered, the tissues vibrate and cause snoring. If the airway is completely covered, you stop breathing. That’s when you have sleep apnea.

The number of times you stop breathing every hour determines the severity of your sleep apnea. In severe cases, you stop breathing more than 30 times per hour.

What symptoms develop if I have sleep apnea?

Loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Snoring doesn’t automatically mean you have a problem, but 40% of those who snore have sleep apnea.

In addition to snoring, you may experience:

  • Excessive fatigue during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • The need to urinate during the night
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems

Most people with sleep apnea don’t realize they snore or that they stop breathing during the night. Their partner or others in the household are often the first to comment on loud snoring.

How do doctors diagnose sleep apnea?

Your symptoms may strongly suggest sleep apnea, but the only way to accurately diagnose the condition is with a sleep study. Most patients can do their sleep study at home.

You only need to attach the sensors to your fingers and chest and place a cannula (small tube) in your nose. Then, a device records your oxygen levels, breathing, and airflow while you sleep.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Your treatment depends on the severity of your sleep apnea and your risk factors. If your apnea is mild and you’re also overweight, losing weight may solve the problem.

Beyond lifestyle changes, sleep apnea is treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or oral appliance therapy.

CPAP is often the first treatment recommended by doctors. You wear a mask, and air is continually pumped through the mask to keep your airway open. 

Oral appliances can serve as your first line of treatment or as an option if you can’t tolerate CPAP. These dental devices treat mild to moderate sleep apnea just as effectively as CPAP.

After you place the appliance over your upper and lower teeth, it moves your lower jaw slightly forward. This change enlarges the airway and prevents your tongue from falling backward.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, call Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center or schedule an appointment online today.