Sleep Apnea and Myofunctional Therapy

Posted by Megan Van Noy on May 12 2022, 01:59 AM

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing pauses for periods of time while sleeping. The pauses typically last around 10 seconds and can occur up to 100 times per night.

People who have sleep apnea typically have a very loud snoring sound and wake up gasping for air. This usually results in daytime sleepiness and being irritable or moody.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

  • Physical examination

Your dentist will examine your oral and throat structures, looking for signs of inflammation or blockage. If your dentist suspects that sleep apnea is contributing to your dental issues, they may refer you to a sleep specialist for further testing.

  • Sleep studies

Your dentist might also recommend a sleep study or polysomnogram.

  • Oral examination

At your oral examination, your dentist will check for signs of sleep apnea, such as teeth grinding, a recessed chin, and an enlarged tongue. 

  • Home sleep test

Sleep apnea is diagnosed through a home sleep test or polysomnography (sleep study) by a sleep specialist.

What can myofunctional therapy do to treat sleep apnea?

There are many benefits to myofunctional therapy, but one of the things the treatment is well-known for is its impact on sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that affects individuals when he or she stops breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. These pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes, and as many as 30 pauses can occur in one hour.

While this condition can be the result of multiple factors, the most common cause is the tongue being too big, thick, or long for the mouth.

When the tongue is too long, it can block the airway, resulting in sleep apnea. Myofunctional therapy is a treatment designed to correct this issue. This treatment involves gently repositioning the tongue and jaw to a more natural position. By moving the tongue and jaw forward, the airway will open, allowing the patient to breathe normally throughout the night.

Can myofunctional therapy improve my sleep apnea symptoms?

For patients with sleep apnea, myofunctional therapy helps to open up the throat. The therapy focuses on strengthening and retraining the tongue, mouth, and other muscles that contribute to airway obstruction at night.

Is myofunctional therapy safe?

Myofunctional therapy is completely safe. The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, including snoring and sleep apnea itself, are treated and eliminated through the therapy. It is non-invasive, and patients do not need to take any medication or undergo surgery.

To know more, please call us at (206) 276-5294,  schedule an appointment online or email us at to have a consultation with our team in Portland, OR, and we will be happy to help.

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