How Can My Dentist Help My Sleep Apnea?

Could You Be Suffering From Sleep Apnea?

If you’re a person who snores, you know it can be annoying and the cause of sleepless nights for those around you. But if your snoring is affecting your night’s rest you have may a potentially serious condition called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that causes sufferers to abruptly stop breathing several times per night for as long as 20 seconds.  The condition affects more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but for many sufferers, the symptoms go unnoticed. Although snoring is a major indicator, not all symptoms are so obvious. Speaking openly with your dentist can help them detect less obvious indicators, and could potentially save your life.

Couple in bed while the woman is trying to sleep and the man is snoring
Couple in bed while the woman is trying to sleep and the man is snoring

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea varies from moderate to severe and the symptoms can be difficult to recognize. Talk to your dentist if you experience one or more of the below symptoms:

  •  Morning headaches
  •  Excessive daytime sleepiness
  •  Irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning
  •  Excessive snoring, choking or gasping during sleep
  •  Insomnia
  •  Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

How Can My Dentist Help My Sleep Apnea?

Signs as simple as lethargy, morning headaches, or dry mouth can lead your dentist to suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Many dentists have experience in treating sleep apnea and can help manage symptoms with behavioral modification and dental appliances.

If your dentist believes you may have sleep apnea, he or she can refer you to a sleep medicine specialist who will assess your sleeping conditions. If diagnosed, you may return to your dentist to be fitted for a dental sleep apnea device.

There are two dental devices for sleep apnea. One is a mouth guard that fits inside your mouth, and the other fits around your chin and head. These devices are used to open up your airway by bringing your jaw lower or your tongue forward while you sleep.

If you or a loved one has any of the above symptoms, or you would like to talk to your dentist about being fit for a dental sleep apnea device, make an appointment today.