Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses or shallow breathing during sleep. Pauses in breathing can be as much as few minutes at a time. Pauses can occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Pauses are taxing to the heart and brain. It deprives these tissues of blood supply and oxygen. Individuals with untreated sleep apnea can suffer from heart problems. Sleepiness and fatigue during the day are usual symptoms of sleep apnea. Proper diagnosis is accomplished by an overnight sleep test called a polysomnogram or "sleep study." Treatment ranges from weight loss, CPAP (breathing device) machine, an oral (dental) device or surgery. With a proper diagnosis and prescription from your physician an oral device can be fabricated for you by your dentist.