Sleep Apnea

Snoring, Sleep Apnea, and other general obstructive breathing problems, are caused by mechanical obstruction of the breathing tube before the lungs. Unlike asthma, emphysema, and chronic lung diseases, which are problems in the lungs. In obstructive breathing problems often the back of the tongue gets thicker and during sleep falls back and down closing off the back of the throat against the soft palate and/or uvula (the little second tongue which hangs down), which then causes a person to gasp, wake-up partially, and get very restless sleep, especially the all-important REM sleep. Or the soft palate and/or uvula starts to lose its elasticity with age and hangs down and during sleep obstructs. A third reason for obstruction is that a person gains weight, and their tissue in the throat grow together, especially close when they are relaxed at sleep and the tongue naturally drops down and back, closing off the airway.

There are several treatments, from surgery to slenderize the tongue, shorten the uvula and soft palate, to diet for the overweight, to the CPap machine to force air down the small windpipe, or an orthodontic device, which snaps on the upper and lower teeth, which causes the mouth to stay open and forward during sleep, thereby keeping the tongue more forward and up, so as not to obstruct. At West Houston Dental Center, we offer a “Snore Appliance”. Dr. Bridger and several of his friends and patients wear them with success.

They are made after impressions are taken of the upper and lower teeth. The impression goes to the lab and in one to two weeks, you will receive your snore appliance. If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, give our office call today for more information, or to schedule an appointment!