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It's Not Just Snoring: The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Snoring can be downright annoying, but it can also contribute to the development of many chronic illnesses.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your airways collapse and oxygen fails to reach your lungs, leading to short episodes of oxygen deprivation. Common causes of apnea include:

But not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Other symptoms that often accompany sleep apnea are waking up and gasping for air, having difficulty concentrating throughout the day, and feeling drowsy due to poor quality sleep.

At Gunnerson Dental, we want you to be aware of not only the dangers of sleep apnea, but also what you can do if you suspect you have it.

Gum disease 

Estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over half of Americans suffer from gum disease, a condition that leads to tooth loss if left untreated.

Gum tissues need moisture to fight off inflammation and infections. Sleep apnea is a risk factor for developing gum disease because repeated episodes of obstructed breathing lead to mouth breathing and dry gums.

Sleep deprivation caused by obstructed breathing is another way in which your gum health can take a hit. When you’re deprived of sleep, not only are you more likely to experience gum infections, but your immune system is also more likely to lose the battle against them.

Heart disease 

When your breathing stops during sleep, your body enters a state of panic and releases stress hormones to wake you up and force you to start breathing again. These chronic episodes of low oxygen levels associated with spikes in adrenaline may help explain why up to up to 85% of patients with sleep apnea develop heart disease.


Research suggests that sleep apnea modifies glucose metabolism and increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Even one night of poor sleep can significantly decrease your insulin sensitivity and cause your body to have a harder time processing carbohydrates from food.

How we can help diagnose and treat your sleep apnea 

Do you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea? If so, K. Cheyn Gunnerson, DMD, may give you a portable device that allows you to perform a sleep study at home. Once he gathers the data, Dr. Gunnerson can give you a diagnosis based on the quality of your sleep.

Sleep apnea can lead to many serious complications, but it’s easy to treat. If you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, our team can create an oral appliance based on a 3D image of your airways. This device, which is small and is customized to fit your mouth without discomfort, prevents the soft tissues in the back of your neck from collapsing and obstructing your breathing during sleep. 

Contact us today to get peace of mind and find out how to get high-quality sleep. Call our Payson, Utah, office or use our online system to request an appointment.

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