Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

While several different types of sleep apnea exist, the most common form is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When a patient with this disorder sleeps, their throat relaxes, and their tongue and soft oral tissue obstruct the airway. This gap in breath is what causes obstructive sleep apnea.

There are a variety of factors that contribute to OSA including weight, age, sex, sleeping position, tongue size, and family history. While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, it’s important to understand the warning signs.


Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea patients report is snoring. Others symptoms include daytime fatigue, memory impairment, morning headaches, heartburn, depression, and irritability.

Some symptoms may be more severe than others. That said, they all serve as warning signs that you may need to take a sleep test. It’s simple, easy, and helps pinpoint the cause of your sleeping disorder. There used to be very few options for treating sleep apnea, but now it’s easier than ever before to find your ideal treatment option.

Treating Sleep Apnea

At Middle Tennessee Dental Sleep Specialists, Dr. Kellye Rice uses a variety of sleep apnea treatments to solve the underlying issues causing your sleeping disorder including customized oral appliances and innovative NightLase® therapy.

Having suffered from sleep apnea herself, Dr. Rice understands the importance of individualized care designed around the needs of the patient. Schedule a visit to our Brentwood office today. We are delighted to answer any questions you have about CPAP alternatives and will work with you to find the treatment option that’s right for you.


Frequently Asked Questions

I snore, do I have sleep apnea?
While snoring can develop as a result of laboured breathing, it’s not always an indicator of sleep apnea. Snoring can be caused by a variety of different issues. 

However, if you are concerned you might be suffering from sleep apnea, schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your doctor. You may be advised to take a sleep study to rule out sleep apnea as a cause for your snoring.

What happens if I don't treat my sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can result in considerable, and even fatal, health problems. More specifically, sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, depression, and more. It’s important to seek a sleep test to determine the best course of action for your condition.
How do I learn more about sleep apnea?
If you have any questions, give us a call at (615) 373-4488 to speak to a knowledgeable member of our team. We’ll explain sleep apnea in detail, how to get a sleep test, and your treatment options to ensure you’re fully aware of the condition.

Practice Update Regarding COVID-19

To combat the spread of COVID-19, our office will only be offering virtual consultations to help evaluate the condition of your sleep apnea and discuss treatment options.


Please submit your information here for a call back from our team. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 615-373-4488 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we look forward to providing you with the highest quality care once we are able to return to our normal hours.


Thank you!


Kellye N. Rice

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