What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a highly manageable disorder that causes disruptions in breathing throughout the night. Sleep apnea can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep leaving you irritable from lack of rest. You can stop breathing due to airflow blockage or disrupted signals from the brain to the airway until the brain wakes you up in order to restart breathing.

Our Cool Springs dentist, Dr. Rice, will partner with local health professionals and general physicians to help treat your sleep apnea. Coming up with a personalized treatment plan, we can ensure that you are sleeping better and wake up feeling refreshed.


The Three Types of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): OSA, is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much during sleep, causing the throat to collapse and block the airway. Deep snoring, gasping or choking, and wheezing are all signs of OSA.

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): CSA makes up nearly 20% of sleep apnea cases. It can be more difficult to treat because it occurs when the signals between the brain and lungs are disrupted. This causes changes in breathing patterns which can result in sufferers experiencing shallow breathing or stop breathing altogether during sleep.

Complex/Mixed Sleep Apnea: Complex sleep apnea cases are a mixture of both OSA and CSA. With each apneic episode, the brain partially and periodically awakens the patient to resume breathing.

The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

When left untreated, sleep apnea can put you at risk for a number of health problems, including:

  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure, heart attacks, and heart palpitations
  • Diabetes
  • Worsening ADHD
  • Depression
  • Chronic headaches

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
If you are suffering from severe snoring, are waking up feeling exhausted, or notice extreme daytime fatigue, sleep apnea might be to blame for your symptoms. 

In order to start sleep apnea treatment, a general physician or sleep specialist will perform a sleep study to determine how you are being affected while you sleep. If it’s determined that sleep apnea is causing disruptions in your breathing while you sleep, you can then be referred to Dr. Rice for treatment using custom-made oral appliances or laser treatment.

Will my sleep apnea go away without treatment?
Unfortunately, sleep apnea doesn’t go away on its own. While in some cases making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and refraining from drinking before bed might help decrease your symptoms, seeking professional treatment is still an important part of treating sleep apnea. Leaving your sleep apnea untreated can lead to serious risks for your health.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
There are a variety of different reasons you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Genetics, the size and shape of your jaw and airway, as well as certain medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, may all be factors in the development of sleep apnea. 

In some cases, an unhealthy lifestyle, such as being overweight, smoking, or excessive drinking may contribute to the severity of sleep apnea.

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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