Are you snoring at night and sleeping less? If you are struggling to get enough sleep, the culprit could be sleep apnea. When signs of sleep disturbances appear, and snoring is a factor, you may have obstructive sleep apnea and your oral health may be the issue. Here at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry, we can help with sleep apnea, finding you a solution for better sleep.
Many patients are surprised to find that sleep apnea is connected to the dental industry. A dentist is often the first person to be able to diagnose a sleeping condition. Sleep apnea causes breathing interruptions during the night. The pauses can last for a few seconds or even minutes. The pauses will take place due to the muscles in the back of the throat becoming flaccid. The tongue may be too large or the jaw too small, which can obstruct the airway.
First Signs of Sleep Apnea
Surprisingly, the first sign of sleep apnea is the grinding of teeth. We will look at the surface of your teeth to see if they are worn, which is a sign that you are grinding your teeth. The teeth can wear away and break if grinding is occurring. Receding gums can also be present along with inflamed gums. When you are sleeping, if grinding occurs, the jaw is tense. This sends the brain a message to wake up to breathe. Cue the sleep interruptions. Additional signs of sleep apnea that your dentist may notice will include redness in the throat due to snoring or a small jaw with a tongue that has scalloped edges.
A Night Guard
We may recommend that you begin wearing a night guard to help with the sleep apnea symptoms. A night guard will reduce teeth grinding which can cut down on the number of times you wake up during the night. Any jaw pain, headaches, or cavities associated with teeth grinding can keep you up at night. With a guard in place, the interruptions can stop.
If the night guard treatment does not work, a sleep study may be needed with a specialist. A sleep study will include the patient staying overnight at a facility while their sleep patterns are monitored. During the night, the number of times you wake will be recorded as well as when breathing stops, and snoring. With the information from the study, additional treatments can be recommended including sleeping devices.
Another way that a dentist can determine a sleep apnea issue is with periodontal disease. If tooth decay is present, it could be due to heavy teeth grinding and sleep apnea. Taking care of the periodontal issue as well as sleep needs will provide better overall health.
If you have experienced heavy snoring and wake constantly at night, sleep apnea may be an issue. Learning more about your options can ensure a better night’s rest. For more information about sleep apnea, call the experienced professionals here at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry at (808) 201-9956 today!