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Sleep Apnea Causes

Up to 10% of Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Many may not even realize they have this condition until a sleep partner complains about their loud snoring or notices an interruption of their breathing during their sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can be caused by many different factors and poses a serious risk to your health. Sleep apnea can put you at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even death. At Bob Perkins, DDS, in Burbank, we help treat the causes of sleep apnea to improve your health and quality of life.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked during sleep, usually for 10 seconds or more. This can occur for a few different reasons. For some, soft tissues in the back of the mouth can move during sleep, creating a barrier at the top of the airway. This is common in adults that are overweight. In fact, over half the adults with sleep apnea are obese, a contributing factor to this condition. However, being overweight is not the only cause, and it may not be the main trigger for this condition.

Jaw Position and Sleep Apnea

One of the main causes of sleep apnea, regardless of age or weight, is jaw positioning. Those with temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ/TMD, and other orthodontic issues that affect the jaw position are more likely to have sleep apnea. For those with a jaw joint disorder, the lower jaw often becomes located in a retracted position. This causes the tongue to be located farther back in the mouth. When sleeping, the tongue can push against the soft palate, causing an obstruction of the airway. This can stop breathing, creating the gasping and snoring that are common symptoms of sleep apnea, with detrimental effects on your health.

At Bob Perkins, DDS, we can help reposition the jaw to open the airway and stop sleep apnea. We use different treatment methods, depending on the specific issues causing sleep apnea for each patient. If you believe you have sleep apnea or have been diagnosed with this condition, contact our office in Burbank today. We will help you learn more about our innovative approach to treating sleep apnea.