Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea
According to several studies, millions of people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that means you stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Snoring is the hallmark of this condition, but this symptom sometimes goes unnoticed. We don’t hear ourselves snore, after all.
Early symptoms of sleep apnea you might notice include:
- Jaw pain, due to teeth grinding
- Sleep disturbances
- Feeling tired during the day
Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to potentially serious health complications, which include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Dental issues, due to teeth grinding
- Poor concentration
Dentists Are Leading the Way in Sleep Apnea
Dentists are often the first medical professionals to notice the signs and the risk factors associated with sleep apnea in patients.
During a routine exam, your dentist can check your throat for a small upper airway, anatomic defects, and other risk factors associated with sleep apnea. Your dentist might notice throat irritation or worn teeth, which are also strongly linked to sleep apnea.
In our Ellicott City, MD office, our skilled dentists are able to look at these factors and ask specific questions that help screen you for this potentially serious sleep disorder. They can schedule referrals and help set up a sleep study to make the definitive diagnosis.
Our dentists can also help treat your sleep apnea with oral appliances that move the jaw forward and increase the size of your airway.