Sleep Apnea and Oral Health

Woman in Bed With Pillow Over Her HeadA potentially dangerous condition that can affect just about anyone, sleep apnea is characterized by shallow breathing or a temporary pause in one’s breathing, as noted by Tooth Wisdom online. Interestingly, dentists often diagnose the condition, as they see patients more often than a regular physician. Thus, as part of a regular dental checkup and discussion with a patient, a dentist can identify links to sleep apnea and help individuals understand how it affects their oral and dental health. Furthermore, dentists can help patients make connections between sleep apnea and existing medical conditions and disorders.

To better understand sleep apnea and how it presents, it’s important to know that there are two types of sleep apnea—Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is the more common type. It occurs when muscles in the throat over-relax, causing an individual’s airway to “collapse.” When this happens, the normal airflow is interrupted, and a person experiences a short, temporary pause in breathing. This “pause” may last for a few seconds, or up to a few minutes, and may continue to occur up to 30 times or more in any given hour! Following an episode of paused breathing, a person may gasp for air, making a loud snore or snorting sound.

Consider the following symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Jaw Pain/TMJ
  • Snoring
  • Waking up feeling tired and not rested
  • Frequent waking spells during the night
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day

In regards to the above-mentioned symptoms, jaw pain is a key indicator of sleep apnea and poses a great concern to one’s oral and dental health. It is believed that prior to an individual’s pause in breathing, the jaw clamps down to prevent the airway from being blocked. Over time, this may result in cracked or broken teeth, worn front teeth, pain when chewing, chronic headaches and even missing teeth.

We Take Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea Seriously

At Lawrenceville Family Dental Care, we take symptoms of sleep apnea seriously, as we understand that it is a serious condition that could lead to serious complications. As an experienced dentist and specialist serving Gwinnett and surrounding areas, Dr. Ashish Patel invites you to call Lawrenceville Family Dental Care if you believe that you may be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea.

Posted on behalf of Lawrenceville Family Dental Care

American Dental Association Georgia Dental Association Academy of General Dentistry International Dental Implant Association