If you are sleeping a full night yet waking up groggy and feeling like you haven't slept at all then you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Our Surrey dentists share some of the ways that sleep apnea can affect your teeth and how dental care can help manage the symptoms.
Sleep Disorders: The Effects of Sleep Apnea
Did you know that the effects of sleep apnea go well beyond the general sleepiness that you might experience? Sleep apnea is also able to cause serious dental and health concerns which can lead to complications if left untreated.
When you sleep well it can help to prevent dental conditions from occurring and progressing as well as providing your body with the sleep it needs to stay healthy. If you have sleep apnea, the Implications might include:
You have your mouth wide open while sleeping.
When you sleep with your mouth open it causes your mouth to dry out. The lack of saliva can lead to your teeth being more likely to develop cavities.
Saliva plays an integral role in our mouth, which means a lack of it can be an issue as mouth sores and plaque develop and the gums become inflamed. Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis may also become more likely if you breathe with your mouth open while sleeping.
You may notice cavities developing more often.
Dental decay is not the only concern when it comes to dental concerns with sleep apnea. Some people who experience sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may also grind their teeth. Teeth grinding can be a major contributor to the occurrence of tooth decay. As with most dental issues, oral hygiene can also indirectly contribute to this symptom.
Depression, anxiety and exhaustion are other conditions that sleep apnea sufferers often experience. When you are physically and mentally drained, you may also put less effort into caring for your body which can increase your risk of developing these concerns.
You may be grinding your teeth often while sleeping.
If you suffer from teeth grinding then you may hear your dentist mention the term bruxism. Bruxism can include the grinding of your teeth along with jaw clenching. While some people do this when they are sleeping it is quite common in those suffering from sleep apnea. Grinding can have a negative impact on your sleep. You may notice you wake feeling unrefreshed. When you are grinding your teeth it can also lead to pain in your jaw, neck and shoulders.
Generally, when a patient experiences symptoms such as bruxism, they likely have no idea it is happening. You may hear about it for the first time when your dentist sees the signs during your routine oral exam. Signs can vary from chipped, cracked or fractured teeth to teeth with eroded surfaces or loose teeth. If your dentist sees symptoms, you may be asked if you experience muscle pain in your jaw, neck, head or face and dryness in your throat, lips and mouth when you wake.
How can dental care help with the effects of sleep apnea?
Your dentists in Surrey are here to help with a number of dental-related needs. With regular dental exams and cleanings, we can help prevent tooth decay. By performing examinations and diagnostics, your dentists can help detect and manage dental concerns as they appear. In addition, we offer restorative and cosmetic services from bridges, fillings and root canals to veneers and teeth whitening to help your smile look and function better.
While our dentists do not offer treatment options directly for sleep apnea, we may be able to offer referrals and recommendations for medical professionals and dental specialists who can help diagnose your condition and provide the necessary treatments.