The Gig Harbor Patient's Guide to Sleep Apnea

Tired of being tired? Sleep apnea affects more than 18 million Americans each year. Is it affecting you?

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75% Of Sleep Breathing
Disorders go undiagnosed

Many people are unaware they have sleep apnea – all they know is that they snore. Not all people who snore have sleep apnea, but all sleep apnea patients snore. Therefore, snoring is not a condition that should be overlooked. Sleep apnea occurs when your airway becomes blocked by your tongue, surrounding muscles, and tissue while you sleep.

Some signs and symptoms of sleep apnea
that you could experience include:

  • Morning Headaches
  • Snoring
  • Wake Up Gasping For Air
  • Excessive Daytime
  • Sleepiness
  • Wake Up Feeling Unrested

If you experience any of these symptoms, you could have sleep apnea. We work closely with you, your primary care physician, and/or sleep physician to help you sleep soundly and feel rested once again.

Snoring is Not Normal!

Not all snorers have Sleep Apnea, but all people with Sleep Apnea snore.

Diagnosing and Treating
Sleep Apnea

To be officially diagnosed with sleep apnea, you will need to be seen by your primary care or sleep physician. They will then order an overnight sleep study. Once you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Iregui will work closely with you and your health care team to determine what the best solution is for you.

We DO NOT use a virtual or offsite sleep physician. We work directly with your health care team, such as your primary care and sleep physician and any specialist who is treating a chronic illness. Dentists should not and legally cannot diagnose your snoring and sleep apnea.

Common Treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Upper Airway Surgeries
  • CPAP
  • Oral Appliance

Have you already unsuccessfully tried sleeping with a CPAP device? At SoundBridge, we offer oral appliances as a comfortable alternative.

images of an oral appliance on a set of model teeth

Our sleep apnea
Success Stories

See what our Gig Harbor and South Sound area patients say about their sleep apnea treatment experiences.

Snoring and sleep apnea
Treatment myths

Be aware of common sleep apnea treatment misconceptions.

My dentist can diagnose me with obstructive sleep apnea
All I need is a “snore guard“ to stop my snoring
I can purchase my sleep apnea oral appliance from a website or magazine
Every dentist offers the same sleep oral appliance.

My dentist can diagnose me with obstructive sleep apnea

Only a primary care provider or a sleep specialist can organize a sleep study and legally diagnose you for sleep apnea. At SoundBridge, Dr. Iregui works in conjunction with you and your team of health care providers. This could include one or more of the following: primary care provider, sleep specialist, and any specialist who is treating you for a chronic illness.

All I need is a “snore guard“ to stop my snoring

Not all snorers have Sleep Apnea, but all people with Sleep Apnea snore. In order to know if you are a snorer or suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you must have a sleep test performed. If you have a “Snore Guard” fabricated, you cannot be sure if you are suffering from Sleep Apnea or if you are adequately treated.

I can purchase my sleep apnea oral appliance from a website or magazine

Your oral appliance should be custom-fit for you. Oral appliances are not one-size-fits all. An ill-fitting oral appliance can not only be uncomfortable, but it could lead to other health concerns such as TMJ, bruxism, and shifting of tooth position. Dr. Iregui works with a variety of oral appliance manufacturers so she can be confident in finding one that suits you. You will also have regular appointments while you adjust to using your appliance. Dr. Iregui will address any concerns and make any adjustments as needed.

Every dentist offers the same sleep oral appliance.

There are many oral appliances to choose from. Through experience and research, Dr. Iregui has found at least seven oral appliances she feels comfortable recommending to her patients. Remember, oral appliances are not one-size-fits-all. Dr. Iregui will recommend one that she feels will be comfortable for you to wear, while also relieving your symptoms.

How does sleep apnea affect
my overall health and well-being?


43% of patients with mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea have hypertension. 69% of patients with severe OSA suffer as well.


65% of stroke patients have a sleep breathing disorder.

Drowsy Driving

People with mild to severe sleep apnea have a 15x increased chance of getting into a car accident.

older woman with blonde hair wearing grey shirt and pearl necklace

Our Sleep Therapy

We are excited to have an in-house dentist who focuses solely on treating patients affected by sleep apnea. Dr. Iregui understands how a lack of sleep can affect your daily life and is dedicated to finding a solution that works for you. She attends many hours of continuing education each year so she can offer the best and most innovative treatments for our patients. Dr. Iregui is also working towards becoming a diplomat with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.

Sleep Apnea FAQs

What is sleep apnea?
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
How is sleep apnea treated?
What are the dangers of untreated sleep apnea?
Who’s at a higher risk for sleep apnea?
What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs throughout the night when an obstruction in a person’s throat is preventing them from breathing properly. A sleep apnea sufferer will continuously have pauses in their breath through the night and briefly jolt awake to clear the interruption.

This can occur anywhere from five to 100 times per hour, making it extremely hard for a person to get adequate sleep. When the sufferer wakes up in the morning, they’ll feel like they’ve had plenty of sleep but feel fatigued and irritable.

A sleep study from primary care or sleep physician can determine whether or not you have sleep apnea.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Generally, the first noticeable sign of sleep apnea is snoring. However, not all snorers have a sleep disorder. If you or a loved one snores loudly but also has any of these symptoms, you may suffer be suffering from sleep apnea:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Gasping for air in the middle of the night
  • Frequent headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Frequent urination at night
How is sleep apnea treated?

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask that continuously blows air through your nose and throat. It helps clear the obstruction in a person’s throat that’s interrupting their breathing cycle.

However, due to its inconvenience, discomfort, and noisiness, sleep apnea sufferers end up stop wearing their CPAP mask and prevent their disorder from being treated.

As a more comfortable, easy-to-use alternative, Dr. Iregui offers patients oral appliance therapy, to help alleviate mild to moderate sleep apnea. It’s similar to a sports mouthguard and is worn at night to gently move the jaw forward and open up a person’s airway.

For more severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery may be a great treatment option.

What are the dangers of untreated sleep apnea?

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a wide variety of health complications and in some cases, death may occur. Health risks associated with sleep apnea include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney problems
Who’s at a higher risk for sleep apnea?

Common factors that can increase your risk of sleep apnea include:

  • Age – older adults are at a higher risk
  • Gender – men are more commonly diagnosed with the disorder
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Drinking excessively
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Neck circumference
  • Nasal congestion

Let us help you find
peaceful sleep once again!

We are proud to offer sleep apnea solutions for our patients from Gig Harbor, Tacoma, and throughout the South Sound area.