Sleep apnea is a condition that causes patients to have short pauses in breathing. These pauses occur repeatedly during sleep. If you have sleep apnea, you might experience morning headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. You could also have a dry mouth, and this could put you at an increased risk of dental decay. Seeking advice from a doctor and from our top local dentist may help you in managing this condition and in improving your quality of life.
This guide will help you understand sleep apnea risk factors, the major symptoms of sleep apnea, the diagnostic process, and the treatment options that are available from your doctor and dentist.
What Are the Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea?
You’re more likely to get sleep apnea if you’re overweight or obese, and the condition is more common in men. Having a family history of the condition increases your chances of getting it, and smoking, alcohol consumption, and sedative use elevate your risk, too.
What Symptoms Are Associated With This Condition?
Loud snoring is particularly common with sleep apnea, and patients often gasp for air during sleep. You might notice fatigue, and you could feel mentally foggy or have lapses in attention.
In terms of oral health, you could experience mouth breathing, teeth grinding, receding gums, jaw pain, and TMJ disorders as a result of this condition. Some patients develop sores on the inside of the cheeks due to jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Your dentist could notice deeper gum pockets and an increase in tooth decay.
How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
To diagnose sleep apnea, you’ll need to have a test that measures your breathing patterns, airflow, heart rate, and blood oxygen level overnight. You might have this test done at a specialized sleep center, and your doctor may also choose to provide you with a portable device that enables you to take the test at home.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
For mild cases of sleep apnea, doctors may begin by recommending lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and smoking cessation. Patients with more advanced cases could need to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device or another type of airway pressure device during sleep.
Your dentist can help treat your sleep apnea by providing various oral appliances that you can wear during sleep. These devices help keep your throat open by bringing your jaw forward, and you will likely notice a reduction in snoring and other symptoms. Your dentist might recommend custom mouthpieces to prevent tooth grinding, and he or she can also provide mouthwashes and other treatment options to alleviate dry mouth. You may be advised to have fillings and more frequent dental appointments if you have significant decay, and orthodontic treatment might be suggested if tooth misalignment is contributing to your symptoms.
If the symptoms mentioned above sound like those you’re experiencing, get in touch with our top local dentist as soon as possible. Our friendly team will be happy to assist you in improving your dental health and overall wellbeing!
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