If you may be suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea your dentist is one of the first health professionals that may notice the signs. Your Surrey dentist may spot the signs of sleep apnea during your routine visit and share their findings with you so that you can schedule a visit with your physician.
One of the main signs that someone might be experiencing sleep apnea is if they wake up still tired after getting a full night's sleep. Your dentist may very well be the first person to notice the signs and share this information with you as sleep apnea can have a detrimental effect on your teeth.
When someone is experiencing the signs of sleep apnea they will learn that as they are sleeping their breathing will be regularly interrupted while they are trying to rest. These pauses can be caused by a lack of respiratory effort, physical blockage of airflow, or a combination of both. Pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes and may occur 30 or more times per hour.
Some of the Common Signs of Sleep Apnea Your Dentist May Spot
Sleep apnea can have an effect on your oral health. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of sleep apneas that your dentist may point out:
- 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)
The most common form of sleep apnea is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is caused by a physical blockage of airflow when sleeping. Common symptoms of OSA include choking or gasping while attempting to sleep, waking frequently during the night, night sweats, morning headaches, loud snoring, high blood pressure, and dry mouth when waking.
A person that is experiencing these symptoms can spend the day feeling exhausted even though to them they would have slept a full night. Sleep apnea is also linked to a greater risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
How Is My Dentist Able To Help If I Am Concerned About Sleep Apnea?
Dentists cannot diagnose sleep apnea. However, they are often some of the first people who can spot symptoms or let you know if you have an increased risk of developing the condition since your jaw and related structures can contribute to OSA.
Your dentist can conduct a dental exam and take X-rays of your neck and mouth, which might reveal abnormally large tissues in the throat or other blockages in the airway. If they notice any physical blockages they will recommend you visit your doctor.