Obstructive Sleep Apnea
As the most common type of sleep apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when there are pauses in breathing while one sleeps. Essentially, throat muscles relax too much, causing the airway to collapse and block airflow. While normal breathing resumes after a few seconds or a few minutes, OSA is dangerous and should be taken seriously. As noted by Tooth Wisdom, when breathing is interrupted, the body reacts by increasing the heart rate in order to maintain adequate oxygen levels. Over time, however, this can lead to poor breathing and an increase in carbon dioxide levels, not to mention high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Given this information and the fact that OSA does not manifest in the oral cavity, one may wonder how obstructive sleep apnea is connected to dental health. To better understand, continue reading below.
While risk factors for developing sleep apnea include excess weight, gender (males have an increased risk), small airways, family history, alcohol and smoking, there are specific symptoms that individuals should be aware of. Ask yourself the following:
- Do you wake up with jaw pain?
- Do you snore?
- Do you wake up feeling tired?
- Do you have waking spells at night?
- Do you wake up with headaches?
- Do you have trouble concentrating?
- Do you experience excessive sleepiness during the day?
- Do you suffer from neck or shoulder pain?
Specific dental signs of OSA may include:
- Damaged teeth (cracked, broken or missing teeth)
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Front teeth that are worn down
- Pain while chewing
While it might be necessary to visit a sleep specialist to determine if you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it’s also wise to see your dentist. Dentists provide invaluable insight into one’s oral health, and can customize a mouth guard to help combat the effects of sleep apnea for some cases.
Providing exceptional patient care and comfort to individuals and families, Dr. Ashish Patel and the team at Lawrenceville Family Dental Care welcome you to our practice, where you’ll find comprehensive dentistry for all ages. If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it’s important to give us a call. You’ll feel at ease with Dr. Patel and our compassionate dental staff, as we help you make informed decisions about your oral and overall health.
Posted on behalf of Lawrenceville Family Dental Care