Littleton, CO dentist Dr. Guy Grabiak and team celebrate case study award for long-term healthy results with their patient.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Its Causes, Symptoms and Health Risks

Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans. This means that it’s as common as adult diabetes. But unlike diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Millions of Americans spend their nights snoring and their days fatigued, and have no idea that they are suffering from a serious health problem. This disorder is tough to diagnose because the symptoms often aren’t recognized. Its symptoms resemble those of other diseases and health problems. Furthermore, it can’t be diagnosed during a doctor’s visit. In order to get a perfect diagnosis, the sufferer must spend the night in a lab. William C. Dement, the father of sleep medicine, is quoted as saying “Sleep disordered breathing in its various manifestations is arguably the number one health problem in the U.S., and probably in the world.”

Causes and Types of Sleep Apnea

The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is caused by a collapse of tissue at the back of the throat that helps with breathing. It blocks the airway and keeps the sleeper from breathing properly. The sleeper may stop breathing for up to ten seconds, after which they’ll suck in a sharp breath. This keeps the brain from getting the oxygen it needs. Obesity, an elongated soft palate or enlarged tonsils can also cause OSA. A less common type is central sleep apnea. This is when the brain fails to tell the body to breath during sleep. Unlike OSA, snoring is not a factor in this type. In addition to OSA and CSA, there is also a mixed version, which is a combination of the two. By far, the most common of the three is OSA. Evidence suggests that all forms of sleep apnea might be hereditary. Obese men over 40 are at the highest risk for developing the disease, but anyone can suffer from the disorder, even children.

Symptoms – When You Should Talk to Your Doctor About Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms can be hard to detect because they may appear minor or may mimic other diseases. It’s usually impossible for the sufferer themselves to notice the symptoms because they’re sleeping. Usually, these symptoms are noticed by family members. Symptoms include:
  • Loud snoring or choking noises.
  • Stopping breathing or irregular breathing during sleep.
  • Fatigue or tired feeling during the daytime (hypersomnia).
  • Migraine headaches, especially in the morning.
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat.
  • Insomnia, or waking up and not being able to go back.

The Consequences of Not Getting a Restful Sleep

People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea find that no matter how many hours of sleep they get, they never feel rested. This feeling of fatigue often comes with muscle pain and headaches. Without the proper oxygen it needs, your body is unable to carry out its important functions while you are sleeping. Lack of proper sleeping also affects your immune system, making you more susceptible to viruses. Being overly sleepy can also put you at risk for car accidents and accidents at work. This condition interferes with REM sleep. This is the deep state that helps to regulate your brain’s functioning. Lack of REM leads to anxiety and lack of concentration. This inability to focus and think clearly acts like a symptom of ADD or ADHD. It also leads to mood swings, emotional problems and lowered job performance. Your body also has important hormonal functions that it carries out while you’re asleep. This disease causes many sufferers to put on weight and have trouble taking it off. When your hormones cannot be secreted properly, it slows down your metabolism. And finally, this disease can be fatal. Over the long term, lack of good rest increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, fibromyalgia and hypertension.

Don’t you want to get that night’s rest you’re dreaming of?

If you show any of the above symptoms and feel tired and fatigued during the daytime, talk to Dr. Grabiak. Denver Dentistry partners with a certified sleep medicine Doctor for a proper diagnosis. Our treatment options can help get you the rest you need, and even save your life. You can also talk to your doctor about staying overnight in a lab.

lizmar thurber

Noelle Jones

Office Manager

With a robust career spanning over 20 years in the dental sector, Noelle Jones has developed a profound expertise that blends technical proficiency with visionary leadership. Starting her journey as a dental assistant, Noelle has continually expanded her skill set and knowledge base. She pursued higher education at Georgia Perimeter College, where she completed programs in dental lab technology, chairside assisting, and business management. In 2024, Noelle found her perfect match in the professional world at Denver Dentistry, a practice that embraces the principles of biological dentistry. This role not only marks a significant step in her career but also profoundly shifts her perspective on the impact dental health has on the rest of the body. Beyond her professional endeavors, Noelle is an avid adventurer who loves exploring the natural beauty of Colorado. She is on a quest to hike all the "14ers" in the state. When not scaling peaks, she enjoys traveling and cherishing moments with her husband and their three beloved dogs. Noelle's dedication to dental excellence and her commitment to a holistic approach in her field make her a pivotal member of the Denver Dentistry team.

The foundation of providing safe and personalized holistic care begins by getting to know you and your goals for your oral health and overall health, both short term and long term. Dr. Grabiak will then learn about your family’s dental and medical history, along with your dental and medical history. Afterwards, we begin your exam by taking a sample of your saliva (Sillha), checking for seven different biomarkers. That same day, we will send you home with a report showing how you scored in those different biomarker categories.

The head and neck examination is often overlooked by busy clinicians but it is as crucial as an element of the oral cancer examination. Dr. Grabiak begins his exam outside of the mouth by starting with a soft tissue check of the neck and the jaw. A thorough head and neck examination is essential for detecting early skin cancers, any overdeveloped jaw muscles that may be contributing towards bruxism, and enlarged lymph nodes that may indicate an active virus or infection.

After the extraoral exam, Dr. Grabiak begins his extensive intraoral exam. During Dr. Grabiak’s exam he is evaluating the teeth, uvula, mucosal tissues, tongue, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and the oropharynx. Part of this exam includes taking high-definition photos of the mouth, all at different angles so you can see exactly what he is seeing. Our hygienist will then come in and complete a comprehensive periodontal assessment. In some cases, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist may recommend additional testing to get to the root cause of the evidence of symptoms they are seeing in your mouth. This entire process takes roughly an hour. In some cases, depending on what Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist had found during their exam we will invite you back for a follow-up appointment called review of findings.

In preparation for the review of findings, Dr. Grabiak and your hygienist will take the time to evaluate all of the data that was collected from your examination and testing to determine your specific needs. At your review of findings appointment Dr. Grabiak will sit down with you one on one to review the data that was collected from your appointment, along with any recommendations. This allows you the time to ask Dr. Grabiak any questions that you may have about your treatment recommendations and expectations from treatment.

Jeromy Mulkey

Jeromy Mulkey

Operations Manager

Jeromy earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His journey in the dental field began when he moved to Colorado in 2015 from Hannibal, New York, a small town outside of Syracuse. Starting as a patient coordinator in corporate dental, Jeromy quickly advanced to office manager and eventually managed multiple offices for a DSO, including specialty practices over the next 4 years. In 2019, his transition to holistic dentistry at Denver Dentistry began. This transition brought new challenges and a renewed passion for learning about the latest sciences and technologies integrated into their practice. Since starting at Denver Dentistry, Jeromy has enjoyed learning about safe mercury removal (SMART Protocol), airway management, ozone, salivary testing, biocompatibility testing for materials, heavy metals testing, and the systemic and oral health connection. Jeromy currently resides in Littleton, enjoying the proximity to the mountains. Outside of work, he cherishes time spent with his wife and daughter and enjoys activities such as snowboarding, bouldering, paintball, soccer, basketball, camping, and hiking. Jeromy's dedication to delivering exceptional customer service and contributing to the team's mission of bringing more healthy smiles to satisfied patients is at the core of his professional ethos.
Chelsea White

Jazmin Contreras

Dental Hygiene Assistant

A native of Guatemala and raised in Carbondale, Colorado, Jazmin Contreras embarked on her medical journey with a degree in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University, where she graduated at the top of her class in 2020. Her early professional life included a significant role in a chiropractic office, where she gained an appreciation for the interconnectedness of whole-body health. This experience laid the groundwork for her holistic view of healthcare. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Jazmin leveraged her linguistic skills as a medical interpreter, greatly enhancing her communication capabilities and deepening her understanding of patient needs and concerns. This role proved essential in her development as a healthcare provider, enabling her to effectively bridge cultural and linguistic barriers in medical settings. Jazmin's career trajectory took a definitive turn when she joined Denver Dentistry. Under the guidance of Dr. Grabiak, she was introduced to an innovative holistic approach to dental care that aligned with her own values and aspirations. It was here that Jazmin found her calling, thriving in an environment that embraced both traditional and alternative medical philosophies. Known for her robust critical thinking and problem-solving skills, Jazmin is passionate about educating her patients on the nuances of holistic dentistry. She is dedicated to demystifying dental care, ensuring her patients not only receive top-notch treatment but also understand the broader implications of oral health on overall well-being. When not at the clinic, Jazmin and her husband indulge in the great outdoors, pursuing activities such as hiking, camping, and kayaking. These adventures not only satisfy their love for nature but also provide Jazmin with a refreshed perspective and renewed energy, which she brings back to her patients and her practice.
lizmar thurber

Lizmar Thurber

Expanded Duties Dental Assistant

Lizmar Thurber is a highly experienced Expanded Duties Dental Assistant, distinguished by her extensive background in both traditional and holistic dental practices. Her educational journey began at the University of Florida, College of Dentistry’s Division of Continuing Education, where she specialized in Expanded Duties of Dental Auxiliary Personnel, Radiological Health, and Safety in 2002. She further enhanced her credentials by earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. In her role, Lizmar leverages a robust skill set tailored to holistic dental care. She has a profound understanding of holistic health practices and is skilled in using biocompatible materials for dental procedures, such as fillings and crowns, to reduce toxicity. Her empathetic demeanor and excellent interpersonal skills are pivotal in alleviating patient fears, thereby creating a comforting and reassuring environment. Known for her bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, Lizmar effectively communicates with a diverse patient base, providing clear explanations of holistic dental treatments and procedures. Lizmar's exceptional communication abilities and her capacity to adapt to various treatment modalities are essential in navigating the unique aspects of holistic dental care. Her versatility and adaptability make her an invaluable asset to any dental team, enhancing patient care with a comprehensive, patient-centered approach. Beyond her professional endeavors, Lizmar cherishes the time spent with her family. Together with her husband, and their sons, she actively participates in various sports activities. They frequently travel for the Colorado Prospects baseball club and engage in other sports like basketball and soccer. Additionally, Lizmar serves her community as a worship pastor, where she shares her passion for music and guides others in their spiritual journey with Christ.

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