Sleep Apnea and Your Dental Health

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can ruin your health. It can cause you to wake up tired and cranky, and give you a headache before you even finish brushing your teeth.

If you have sleep apnea, it’s time to address the issue and get treatment, or the condition likely will shave years off your life. You may be surprised to know that your dentist may be the medical professional you need to see to get effective, non-invasive treatment.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea affects approximately 25 million adults in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. It causes muscles in mouth and throat to relax, allowing soft tissues to collapse and block your airway, causing you to stop getting oxygen.

This interruption in breathing jolts the brain out of its deep sleep patterns, enough to signal the opening of the airway so normal breathing can continue.

OSA’s Destructive Consequences

When your body is not allowed to rest uninterrupted for a full night’s sleep, that alone can have serious consequences for your long-term health. Factor in the oxygen you aren’t getting in the nighttime hours, and you run a higher risk of developing many other conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and more.

Signs You Are a Candidate for Treatment

Do you wake up feeling groggy, even after you have slept six to eight hours? Do you have constant morning headaches? Do you have a sore throat when you wake up? These are all signs obstructive sleep apnea may be an issue.

If you experience any other symptoms, including anxiety and depression, it’s definitely time to seek medical help.

How Can Your Dentist Help?

First, make an appointment with your primary care doctor to share your concerns. However, if you have a dental checkup coming up, don’t hesitate to bring up the issue with your dentist as well.

In many cases, dentists see their patients twice a year, once more often than primary care doctors check in with their patients. Your dentist can look at your mouth and throat and draw conclusions on whether an oral supportive device may be helpful.

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy

Whether recommended by your primary doctor or dentist, these oral appliances are devices that are usually custom-made to fit your jaw and teeth. They feel like a retainer, but the purpose is to keep the upper jaw positioned forward in the mouth. This helps your airway stay open, even when you lose consciousness and muscle control over this part of your body.

Oral appliances are a good remedy because they’re easy to take with you while traveling, they’re comfortable to wear and they are proven to be the best, non-invasive treatment that provides results.

Are you ready to start getting a good night’s sleep again? Talk to the team at Oak Hills Dentistry about your struggles with sleep apnea, and learn how an oral appliance could benefit you.