Snoring is more than just a hindrance to good sleep; it could mean big trouble for your overall wellness and dental health. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide In today’s blog, your Cleveland, TX, dentist explores the signs and symptoms of this dangerous disorder, how it is treated, and its impact on dental health.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, often caused by an obstruction in the upper airway. The two most common types are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA is more prevalent and occurs when the throat muscles relax, obstructing the airway. CSA, on the other hand, is caused by the brain’s failure to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Signs and Symptoms
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea is crucial for early detection and effective treatment. Snoring that is consistent, disruptive, and often accompanied by choking or gasping sounds is a big red flag. If you feel excessively tired, sleepy, or even having difficulty staying awake during the day it may be time to visit with a sleep specialist. Other symptoms are instances of interrupted breathing during sleep or waking up with headaches due to oxygen deprivation during the night. Many patients also report dryness or discomfort in the mouth and throat upon waking.
Effects on Dental Health
Sleep apnea can directly impact dental health in several ways:
- Sleep apnea has been linked to bruxism, which is a condition characterized by teeth grinding or clenching during sleep. This can lead to worn tooth enamel, jaw pain, and TMJ disorders.
- It is associated with increased incidences of TMJ disorders, which affect the joints connecting the jaw to the skull. Symptoms include jaw pain, clicking or popping of the jaw, and difficulty in opening or closing the mouth.
- You may notice a dry mouth, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health, and reduced saliva production increases the likelihood of these dental problems.
How Can We Help?
Dental professionals play a crucial role in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. We can identify signs of sleep apnea during your dental check-ups and make referrals to sleep specialists for further evaluation. If we determine you are a candidate, we can customize an oral appliance to help open your airway. Working in tandem with sleep specialists, we can develop a treatment plan to ensure your health is optimized.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can have a significant impact on both overall health and dental well-being. If you suspect you or a loved one may have sleep apnea, call our dental office in Cleveland, TX, today at (281) 592-1234. We also proudly serve patients and their families from Kingwood, New Caney, Conroe, Livingston, Huffman, and all surrounding communities.