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What Causes Snoring & Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is caused by a partially obstructed airway. When you sleep, the soft tissue and muscles in your mouth and throat relax, causing your airway to become smaller. If your airway becomes small enough, your soft palate and uvula begin to vibrate when you inhale and exhale. These vibrations are the cause of the sound of snoring.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, occurs when the airway becomes sufficiently blocked due to a collapse of the soft tissue in the back of the throat and tongue. When the patient's airway becomes blocked, they are not able to take a breath. Because the brain and heart are deprived of oxygen, blood pressure and heart rate increases can put the OSA patient at risk for heart attack and stroke. The breathing pauses can happen hundreds of time during the night, causing a snowball effect that leads to lack of energy and daytime sleepiness:


OSA historically has been treated via your Primary Care, Pulmonologist or ENT Physician with a C-PAP device:

Another option has become available to treat  Snoring and OSA, an Oral Appliance: 

Because of the natural synergy between treating TMJ patients and Dental Sleep Medicine,  Dr Woodruff treats Snoring & OSA using oral appliances.

Oral Appliances work by moving the jaw and tongue slightly forward, thereby opening the airway and relieving the anatomical cause of Snoring & OSA. 

The Oral Appliance is now accepted to treat patients with Snoring and OSA:
  • For patients with Mild to Moderate OSA (AHI of 5 to 25) who have either not tolerated C-PAP or simply prefer the Oral Appliance approach.
  • For patients with Severe OSA (AHI over 25) who have not tolerated C-PAP.  C-PAP is the desired first line treatment for patients with Severe OSA.

The success rate with the oral appliance is quite high.  Patients need a prior sleep study and physician referral.  The appliance we use is an FDA approved device called the TAP 3 made by Airway Labs in Dallas, Texas.  The appliance has an adjusting mechanism allowing the optimal positioning of your jaw to treat your Snoring/OSA condition.