Sleep Apnea and the Dentist
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a chronic sleeping condition that causes people to stop breathing for certain periods of time during the sleep cycle. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive; this type of sleep apnea occurs when the airway leading to the lungs collapses, preventing oxygen from passing to the lungs. When this happens, the body uses different methods to wake itself up, causing a person to suffer from extreme tiredness and lethargy. If not treated, sleep apnea can cause significant short- and long-term damage to the health.
So what does sleep apnea have to do with my dental health?
Suffering from sleep apnea doesn’t just affect your mental health or your energy levels. Sleep apnea can have extremely detrimental effects on your dental health as well as other aspects of your physical health. Here are a few common dental issues in people who have sleep apnea:
- Cracked, worn or sensitive teeth
- Those who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to grind their teeth during the night, leading to cracked, worn or sensitive teeth. 1 in 4 people who have sleep apnea tend to grind their teeth while sleeping. Over time, this causes irreparable damage to the teeth, potentially leading to more dental issues.
- Jaw pain
- Sleep apnea is also associated with chronic dental pain disorders such as TMJ or TMD. If your jaw hurts to open or move, especially after sleeping, you may have one of these conditions.
- Higher risk of cavities
- People who have sleep apnea are more likely to breathe through their mouth when they sleep, resulting in a dry mouth and an increase in bacteria. This increase could end up leading to early tooth decay.
What can my dentist do to help me with my sleep apnea treatment?
It is important that you find a dentist specifically trained in the field of dental sleep medicine, such as Dr. Niegsch at Ames dental office, Dentistry At Somerset. A dentist that is trained in sleep medicine can provide you with a customized dental sleep appliance. The dentist works in partnership with sleep physicians and sleep lab technicians to make sure the appliance works well and is an effective treatment.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, call Ames dental office Dentistry At Somerset to schedule a sleep apnea consultation at 515-817-1491.