Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects more than 20 million Americans. It causes your breathing to stop and start during sleep, which makes you wake up many times during the night. This can lead to fatigue and daytime sleepiness, making you less productive at work or school.
If you have sleep apnea but aren’t sure it’s caused by dental problems, read on as a Midtown Miami, FL dentist talks about sleep apnea and how airway-centered dentistry can help.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow breaths during sleep. It may occur as an isolated problem or as part of another condition.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Gasping for breath while sleeping
- Waking up with a dry mouth and throat
How Can Dental Problems Cause Sleep Apnea?
Dentures, loose or broken teeth, gum disease, and throat infections can all contribute to sleep apnea. If your teeth are misaligned, it can cause you to bite down on your tongue or the roof of your mouth. This can restrict the airway and cause snoring or breathing problems while sleeping.
Gum disease makes it hard for your mouth to stay healthy, which means bacteria build up in the body and irritate tissue in the throat. The muscles in your mouth and throat relax when you sleep. If they are not properly supported by your teeth, they can loosen and collapse while you are asleep. This can cause snoring and make it difficult to breathe.
Gum disease and tooth loss can also cause sleep apnea by changing the structure of your mouth so that it doesn’t close properly when you sleep.
How Airway-Centered Dentistry Can Help
Airway-centered dentistry is a new approach to dental care that uses the mouth and jaw position to help improve sleep, reduce snoring and prevent or manage obstructive sleep apnea. It can help people with sleep apnea by fixing the jaw, improving the airway, and increasing oxygen levels.
Treatments commonly used to reduce and even eliminate sleep apnea include:
- Dental arch expansion
- Mandibular orthotropic therapy
- Oral appliance therapy
And these procedures do not involve surgery or cutting tissue.
One of the most important things to remember is that if you think that you may be suffering from sleep apnea, it’s important to get checked out by your dentist! They’ll be able to evaluate your bite and make recommendations for treatment.
If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call us, your local Midtown Miami, FL dentist office today!