Could you have Sleep Apnea?

Categories: Sleep Disorders

could i have sleep apneaSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

Sleep apnea can have one (or more) of many warning signs, but perhaps you aren’t familiar with them. Today, our airway dentist in Santa Cruz wants to focus on some of the symptoms of sleep apnea, which is a dangerous sleeping condition that is preventable but, if left untreated, will cause the airway to be blocked during sleep. This often leads to gasping for air, snoring and other bad sleeping habits that wreck your sleep — and very possibly your partner’s, too.

So let’s take a look at some of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and how, as airway dentists specializing in treating sleep apnea, Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry can help.


The most common symptom of OSA is snoring. It’s what often sends people into our Scotts Valley dentist’s office. Snoring indicates that a person’s airway is blocked, the person is struggling to breathe and the body isn’t receiving adequate oxygen.

Grinding or clenching teeth

In addition to snoring, grinding/clenching teeth at night (also called bruxism) is a common sign of OSA, which is most often caused by being overweight, smoking or having a misaligned bite.

Dry mouth

Waking up frequently with a dry mouth and/or sore throat could point to sleep apnea because people who snore often sleep with their mouths open, causing dry mouth and throat irritation.

Daytime fatigue

People whose sleep is interrupted by sleep apnea don’t realize they’re snoring or gasping for air at night. But it takes a toll on the quality of sleep they’re getting, and this can translate into sometimes severe and chronic daytime fatigue. When the airway becomes blocked or collapses at night, the body will wake up the person struggling to breathe to try to make that person gasp for air. The body and brain believe the person is choking, so they go into survival mode. This can happen up to 100 times a night in the most severe cases. Each time, it disrupts the restorative stages of sleep. While people with OSA may feel they’re getting a full night’s sleep, they’re not. And chronic fatigue is often a consequence.

Chronic headaches

Suffering from chronic headaches is another common symptom of OSA. The lack of oxygen to the brain at night causes the blood vessels to widen, which can lead to vascular headaches.


Do you feel you suffer from more anxiety than the average person? To fight fatigue, do you find yourself drinking a lot of caffeine, in the form of coffee or high-sugar energy drinks, during the day? Large amounts of caffeine, or caffeine consumed later in the evening, can increase anxiety levels, which will only disturb sleep patterns even more than OSA alone.

Weight control

People who seem to have an impossible time losing weight could have OSA. People who are overweight have excess fat tissue blocking their airways, which often causes snoring. This creates a vicious cycle because a lack of sleep interferes with a person’s ability to be active and lose weight.

Difficulty concentrating or remembering

The human brain needs oxygen to properly function. Sleep apnea causes snoring or for someone to stop breathing entirely, usually multiple times a night. During this time, the brain and body do not receive needed oxygen. The lack of sleep can result in a person losing the ability to concentrate or focus during the day. It can also impact the ability to remember things. Snoring also disrupts the brain from REM sleep — the deepest stage of the sleep cycle — which means the brain cannot properly restore and rejuvenate.


Sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. The first step is visiting our airway dentist in the Los Gatos, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz area. We can refer patients for a sleep study if needed, which can help our dentists make a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan. Treating sleep apnea could be as simple as aligner therapy — or wearing a clear, plastic tray that resembles a mouthguard — during the night. If you believe you or a partner may have sleep apnea, give us a call at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, (831) 824-5111, or reach us online today.