Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and snoring can occur at any age. The snoring associated with sleep apnea can clock in at around 90 decibels, which is comparable to the noise at an industrial work site! Clearly, this can cause sleep problems for your family that extend beyond the slew of destructive symptoms of sleep apnea alone. If your partner or roommate has noticed that your snoring is loud or that you stop breathing regularly while you sleep, you may have obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

If I snore, do I have sleep apnea?

Some people snore but do not have sleep apnea. Benign snoring (nonobstructive snoring) is not necessarily dangerous and is simply caused by a fluttering uvula. However, snoring that is the result of air flowing through an obstructed airway during sleep can have very serious health consequences.

Since sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening disease, you should consult with Dr. Martin at Northwest Dental Services in order to determine if your snoring is a symptom of it.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is more than just loud snoring. It is a condition that affects over 20 million Americans and is caused by multiple points of obstruction within the airway.

A partially closed airway caused by obstructive sleep apnea can lead to many serious health conditions, including (but not limited to):

  • Heart attack
  • Hypertension
  • Hypoxemia
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastric reflux
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Impotence


If you wake up feeling fatigued and unrested or if loved ones have told you that your breathing sounds labored at night, you might have undiagnosed sleep apnea.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

While snoring is the most recognized symptom of sleep apnea, there are several other warning signs to watch out for. Symptoms beyond loud snoring include:

  • Gasping for air/choking during sleep
  • Waking up with dry mouth
  • Insomnia (trouble falling asleep)
  • Hypersomnia (trouble staying awake)
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty paying attention


If you are experiencing several of these symptoms regularly, we invite you to consult with Dr. Martin to see if you have obstructive sleep apnea. He can help you develop a treatment plan that will allow you to be well-rested again.

What are my treatment options?

Northwest Dental Services offers several treatments for sleep apnea, and Dr. Martin can help you to select the best course of action. He also works closely with sleep physicians and surgeons in the area and can work with them to develop the most appropriate treatment plan which may include:

  • Oral appliances therapy
  • CPAP therapy
  • Other airway pressure technologies
  • Tissue removal surgery
  • Jaw repositioning

Dr. Martin works closely with oral maxillofacial surgeons and can provide a combination of treatments for the best possible outcome. While these are only a few of many options, you can consult with Dr. Martin to determine which will work best for your specific condition.

Suffering from sleep apnea can affect all aspects of your life beyond your sleep. If you or your family are concerned about your snoring, or you suspect you may have sleep apnea, we invite you to call or schedule an appointment online today at Northwest TMJ and Craniofacial Therapy Center in Tacoma and Lakewood, Washington.