What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common condition that causes the soft tissues in your mouth or throat to block your airway. This will result in repeated interruptions to your sleep and the inability to get a full night’s rest. You could also suffer from numerous symptoms, including chronic fatigue or other serious health issues. At Rockwall Family Dentistry, Dr. Melina Morrison can easily recognize the signs of sleep apnea and can create a customized treatment plan. At our Rockwall, TX, dental practice, we take a conservative approach to all our procedures. We will typically begin with oral appliance therapy, and most patients enjoy significant relief after wearing the simple device for just a few nights.

Sleep apnea results in a drop in oxygen levels, which can have profound effects on your health over time. 

Understanding the Two Types of Sleep Apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. If you suffer from OSA, your soft palate or other soft tissues will fall or sag while you are sleeping. Thus, the soft tissues block air and keep you from breathing normally. Anyone can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. However, your risks are higher if you are overweight, are a middle-aged male, or have a narrow neck. Enlarged adenoids or tonsils, genetics, and smoking are also OSA risk factors.

The right sleep apnea care can improve your mood, quality of life, and long-term health.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is much less common than OSA. This condition is not related to your oral structure. Rather, it develops when your brain does not send the right signals to your muscles, resulting in a cessation of breathing. CSA often develops because of other health conditions. Since this type of sleep apnea is a complex issue, Dr. Morrison will often refer you to a sleep specialist or other physician.

The Signs of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea has various symptoms, and we can usually diagnose the condition based primarily on these issues. Signs of OSA can include:

  • Snoring
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Sore throat or dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Forgetfulness
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches upon waking up in the morning

The condition can also pose risks for your overall health, including increased chances of high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.

How Rockwall Family Dentistry Can Help

As a dentist, Dr. Morrison is an expert in the anatomy of the human mouth. Therefore, she can easily diagnose OSA and provide effective treatment. For the majority of our patients, oral appliance therapy is a highly successful option. With this treatment, an appliance pushes the lower jaw forward to tighten soft oral tissues and open up the airway. At Rockwall Family Dentistry, we provide several types of oral appliances, including:

  • SomnoDent® Classic
  • SomnoDent Flex™
  • SomnoMed® G2
  • MicrO2® appliance

Dr. Morrison can explain the differences between these devices during your appointment, and will prescribe the appliance that will be the most comfortable and most appropriate for your needs.

Contact Rockwall Family Dentistry

If you believe that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it is important to visit an experienced doctor. The right care can improve your mood, quality of life, and long-term health. Contact our dental practice today to schedule your personalized sleep apnea consultation.

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Rockwall Office

3084 N Goliad St Ste 124
Rockwall, TX 75087

Open Today 8:30am - 5:00pm

Hours & Info


(972) 772-4000