When you wake up in the morning with a dry mouth, sore gums or you feel like you haven't slept much at all, it's possible you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is a condition where you may develop problems breathing during sleep. This is caused by physical obstructions closing off the airway.
If your dentist feels you have a more serious form of sleep apnea, they will recommend you consult your doctor. The condition might require surgery or more comprehensive treatment.
Your dentist can help you with less severe sleep apnea. How can your dentist help you with sleep apnea? There are a few ways.
Dentists Can Help Diagnosis It
While an official diagnosis has to come from your doctor, a dentist can actually help you diagnose that sleep apnea could be a problem for you. There are certain telltale signs your dentist is trained to spot about a few certain health concerns and sleep apnea is one of them.
A dentist can potentially feel that you could have sleep apnea if you grind your teeth. This can cause cracking in the teeth or even displace some of them, causing potential obstructions that can prevent you from breathing correctly at night. A dentist can feel you may have sleep apnea due to receding gums or even because you have inflammation of your gums. A dry mouth can also be a potential symptom.
This is usually in combination with other symptoms such as headaches and tiredness after a full night of sleep.
Dentists Can Give You a Dental Appliance
A dentist can help you with sleep apnea, especially less severe apnea, by giving you a dental device. This device is used while sleeping to help keep your airways open. There are mouth guards you can get from your dentist that are designed to keep the jaw and tongue in a particular position while you sleep to keep them from blocking your airway.
This device will typically hold the jaw slightly forward, toward the front of your mouth and keep the tongue held down so it doesn't roll back toward your airway. These devices can hold any other loose oral tissue aside and therefore won't obstruct your airway.
Your dentist can also give you a dental device to help prevent you from grinding your teeth. This helps to prevent any cracking or movement of the jaw and surrounding tissue to begin with. It's a good idea to try to prevent sleep apnea before it starts if at all possible.