Sleep apnea affects between 2% and 9% of adults in the United States. It involves extended lapses of breathing during sleep and can have serious health consequences. If you suspect that you may have this disorder, here’s what to know about the condition and how your dentist can help.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition, which means it lasts for more than a year and requires ongoing treatment. People with this disorder simply stop breathing during various periods throughout the sleep cycle.
There are two types: obstructive and central. During the first, which is more common and often the result of obesity, soft tissue in the airway collapses and interrupts breathing.
During the second, no obstruction occurs, but the brain stops sending signals to tell the body to breathe. Sleep apnea leads to fatigue and poor mental health due to lack of sleep, but it has also been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
How Can Your Dentist Help?
A dentist may be able to diagnose the condition by spotting symptoms that arise from poor sleep, such as teeth grinding, receding gums, or oral inflammation. They can also examine the shape of your mouth and jaw to determine if you’re a good candidate for an oral device. If you are, you'll receive a mouth guard that holds your tongue and jaw in place to prevent airway collapse.
The dentist will work closely with you to ensure the fit is comfortable and the device reduces symptoms. Such devices are much less intrusive and bulky than noisy sleep apnea machines, which generate air pressure to encourage breathing and require users to wear a mask while they sleep.
If you need a dentist to treat sleep apnea, contact Valley Family Dentistry in Mayfield, NY. We’ve served Fulton County for more than 30 years and specialize in root canals, dental implants, teeth cleaning, and tooth replacement. We also provide emergency care for unexpected dental care issues. Learn more about us on our website, or call (518) 661-6405 to schedule an appointment.