Some studies indicate that as many as a billion people worldwide suffer from sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that causes you to stop breathing for short periods during the night.
If you’re like many sleep apnea sufferers, you probably aren’t aware that you have the condition. Short pauses in breathing may not be enough to wake you up, so you don’t remember not breathing. But the next day you may feel tired and irritable or find it difficult to focus on daily tasks.
Other symptoms include headaches, snoring, and dental pain. The latter because some sleep apnea sufferers grind their teeth while asleep. If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications like heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
How Your Dentist Can Help
You may not realize it, but your dentist can play a critical role in identifying your sleep apnea by checking for small upper airways, anatomic abnormalities at the back of your throat, and other risk factors. During the evaluation, your dentist will also ask specific questions that help screen you for sleep apnea and evaluate your risk for developing this common sleep disorder in the future.
If sleep apnea is suspected, your dentist can recommend a sleep study and help set up other referrals.
Because many sleep apnea sufferers grind their teeth, your dentist can recommend a mouth guard to help prevent enamel erosion or other devices to combat snoring and help keep you breathing steadily through the night.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Ellicott City, MD
If you’re feeling tired during the day and suspect sleep apnea, or if you would like a dentist to evaluate your risk for developing this common sleep disorder, we at MD Smiles are here to help!
If you’ve already been diagnosed and would like a dentist to examine your teeth for potential enamel erosion due to teeth grinding, don’t hesitate to contact us.