Some people experience the unfortunate symptoms of sleep apnea without realizing that there is a cause. Your Summerland dentist might be able to help spot the signs that you are experiencing sleep apnea during your routine visit and suggest that you follow up with your physician for diagnosis.
The most common symptom reported by those suffering from sleep apnea is waking up exhausted after a full night's sleep. Because sleep apnea can harm your teeth, your dentist may be the first to notice the symptoms and share this information with you.
A person with sleep apnea experiences frequent breathing interruptions while attempting to fall asleep. A lack of respiratory effort, physical obstruction of airflow, or both may be to blame for these pauses. These pauses can range widely in length and frequency.
The Obvious Signs Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can have an effect on your oral health. Your dentist may notice these common signs during your routine exam:
- Receding or inflamed gums
- Tongue with scalloped edges
- Worn tooth surfaces
- Teeth grinding (bruxism), which may cause wear and breakage
- Spike in cavities due to damage to teeth as a result of grinding
- Redness in the throat (caused by excessive snoring)
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prevalent type of sleep disorder (OSA). A physical restriction in airflow while sleeping is the cause of OSA. The signs of OSA include choking or gasping while sleeping, frequent nighttime awakenings, night sweats, headaches in the morning, loud snoring, high blood pressure, and dry mouth.
A person who is experiencing these symptoms may spend the day feeling exhausted despite having slept a full night. Sleep apnea has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
What Steps Will My Dentist Take If They Spot The Signs Of Sleep Apnea?
A dentist cannot diagnose sleep apnea. However, because your jaw and related structures can contribute to OSA, they are often the first people to notice symptoms or tell you if you are at a higher risk of developing the condition.
Your dentist can examine your teeth and take X-rays of your neck and mouth, which could show abnormally large throat tissues or other airway obstructions. They'll tell you to see your doctor or a specialist if they find any physical impediments.