Most people associate the dentist with their mouth, not their sleep. However, your oral health and your sleeping habits can go hand in hand. While certain sleeping habits (like open mouth breathing and teeth grinding) can threaten the health and strength of your smile, there is also a serious sleep disorders that can be treated by your dentist.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that impacts over 18 million Americans. It occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much during sleep and block the airway passages. In turn, the amount of oxygen delivered throughout the body is diminished and your brain responds by waking the body up and causing the person to gasp for air. Beyond these frequent episodes of breathing cessations and gasping for air, sleep apnea sufferers also tend to snore.
Sleep apnea comes with a full list of concerns. Aside from daytime fatigue and poor concentration, sleep apnea has also been linked to serious medical conditions such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke and heart failure. Since patients with sleep apnea often sleep with their mouth open and may even grind their teeth, we know that this condition can also have adverse effects on their dental health, such as dry mouth, worn down teeth, TMJ problems, etc.
How Does a Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?
By fitting sleep apnea patients with a special, FDA approved night guard, the jaw can rest in a position that properly opens the air way during sleep. This drastically reduces or eliminates sleep apnea episodes throughout the night and is ideal for those that want to avoid a CPAP machine.
You should know that a dentist is well qualified to diagnose and treat sleep apnea. In fact, the ADA has proposed a policy that all dentists should be screening for obstructive sleep apnea. Dentists are already well-equipped and experienced in taking dental impressions and making custom-fit appliances and many obstructive sleep apnea signs and symptoms can be found within the mouth.
Are you suffering the devastating effects and health risks of untreated sleep apnea? Are you concerned your spouse or partner may have sleep apnea? Call Gold Hill Dentistry. We have the skill and knowledge it takes to address your sleeping concerns and better protect your oral health and quality of life!
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2848 Pleasant Road, #104
Fort Mill, SC 29708
Phone: (803) 547-4466