Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


Dental Health & Sleep Apnea











Losing sleep is frustrating, but it becomes more so when you cannot find the cause. If you’re losing sleep, you should be aware that dental health can cause some sleep disorders by disrupting breathing patterns. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common dental-related form of sleep apnea. Nevertheless, advanced general dentistry services in Charlottesville, VA, offer solutions for those afflicted with such sleep apnea.

Hillcrest Dental is a family dentistry practice that offers general care, cosmetic services, and surgical dentistry for children and adults. We practice empathetic care with skilled expertise. It is our mission to help you feel confident about your smile so you can enjoy a lifetime of dental health. Our team provides a range of dental care options, including root canals, dentures, gum disease, night guards, and sleep apnea appliances. Contact us today to learn more!

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Apnea is an interruption in breathing during sleep. Not all forms of sleep apnea are related to oral health, but some are. Oral health-related apneas arise from weak muscle airways, which impede normal breathing.

The most common sleep apnea symptoms are insomnia and snoring. Insomnia occurs in these cases because the body awakens itself when it senses a lack of oxygen. Snoring arises due to an obstruction to an airway, which causes relaxed throat muscles to vibrate.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which a narrow or collapsed airway restricts respiratory airflow during sleep. The condition is caused by oral and craniofacial abnormalities, like enlarged tongue or tonsils, or anthropometric features, like obesity. OSA is most common among men and older adults. 

To treat OSA, dentists sometimes collaborate with physicians and sleep specialists. OSA can be treated with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, which widens the airway with increased air pressure. However, this treatment requires a noisy machine and an inconvenient mask. 

A less invasive option, which Hillcrest Dental offers, is an oral apnea appliance. The most common kind is a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD), which consists of a mouth guard that goes in a user’s mouth to hold the jaw in a forward position while they sleep. It is small, convenient, and less obtrusive than a PAP machine. 

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) occurs when relaxed soft tissue or the tongue falls back into the throat during sleep and obstructs airflow. Although not classified as sleep apnea, UARS can inhibit sleep quality. However, it does not spring from obesity like OSA. 

This condition’s symptoms include snoring, fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, and disturbed sleep. To treat it, your doctor may perform a polysomnogram and study your sleep patterns. Your dentist can treat UARS with an oral apnea appliance similar to those for OSA.

Hillcrest Dental: Practiced Family Dentistry in Charlottesville, VA

dental check up










Turn to Hillcrest Dental for general dentistry services in Charlottesville, VA. Whether you need a regular check-up or have a dental emergency, we will care for your dental needs. Our professional team provides fulfilling services and values long-term relationships with our patients. Contact us at (434)-973-2224 to request an appointment. 

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.