Has your partner or family member alerted you to loud snoring at night? Do you wake up tired and have trouble focusing on the simplest tasks? If so, you may have a serious sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. But did you know that there’s a strong link between sleep apnea and your dentist?
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious health concern characterized by breathing pauses during sleep. The most common type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. It occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax, obstructing the upper airway and preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. The brain, sensing the oxygen deprivation, briefly wakes the patient to start breathing once again.
Poor quality of sleep often leads to daytime fatigue, mood swings, depression, and difficulty concentrating. It can also lead to a higher risk of motor vehicle or workplace accidents. Sleep apnea is linked to serious health concerns, including heart disease, high blood pressure, acid reflux, and unexplained weight gain.
What Is the Link Between Sleep Apnea and Your Dentist?
One of the first signs of sleep apnea can be grinding or clenching your teeth, a condition known as bruxism. Symptoms often include uneven tooth wear, chipped or fractured teeth, tooth sensitivity, gum inflammation, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders or TMD.
Dentists are sometimes the first healthcare providers to recognize signs of sleep apnea. Even if you are unaware of your sleep disorder, a tooth exam may reveal tooth wear, gum inflammation, or other signs of sleep apnea.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
The first step in treating sleep apnea is a sleep study to diagnose the condition. Treatments typically involve the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP machine, which blows pressurized air through a mask to keep the airway open as you sleep.
Sleep Apnea Solutions Near Me
If you are concerned you have sleep apnea, talk to your healthcare provider or contact Hebron Family Dentistry in Hebron, KY, to schedule a consultation. Call us at 859-689-2021 to schedule your appointment today!