Sleep apnea is a common concern that affects millions of Americans. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and can cause long-term oral and health problems. In addition to the many dental concerns that we treat, sleep apnea is a condition we also treat. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway repeatedly becomes blocked during sleep cutting off the natural flow of oxygen to the brain and other organs. Patients may wake up several times a night.
Sleep apnea has been shown to cause an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other systemic diseases. For some patients, sleep apnea may cause chronic TMJ pain, cracked or broken teeth, and even tooth loss.
Early diagnosis of sleep apnea is essential for conservative treatment and to prevent further damage to your oral health. If you have ever been told that you snore loudly, wake up gasping for air, if you suffer from depression or fatigue, or have difficulty concentrating, contact our Windsor Mill, MD dentist office.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
While anyone could develop sleep apnea, there are certain risk factors to be aware of that may put you at a higher risk. Knowing your genetics, lifestyle, and health factors can help you encourage patients to seek early diagnosis and treatment to avoid the risk of other associated health problems.
- Weight – Being overweight can put you at a higher risk for sleep apnea
- Neck Circumference – Patient’s with a larger neck circumference are more likely to develop sleep apnea
- Airway Size – Some patients naturally have a more narrow airway. Enlarged tonsils can also narrow the airway increasing the chance of sleep apnea.
- Gender – Men are 50% more likely to develop sleep apnea than women
- Family History – Your family history can predict a lot about your health, especially as you age. Be sure to let us know if you have a family history of sleep apnea.
- Pre-diagnosed Health Conditions – If you have high blood or diabetes, you may have sleep apnea. Many health and oral health concerns cause a domino effect of other medical concerns. Regular dental exams can help keep your oral health in check.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Our Baltimore dentist office provides patients with oral sleep devices for the treatment of sleep apnea. Dr. Desbordes will work with your local sleep specialist to treat your sleep apnea. Much like a sports mouthguard, oral sleep devices are custom-designed to help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Comfortable and discreet, the oral sleep appliance is easy to travel with and can is only worn while sleeping. The retainer realigns the jaw so that the airway is able to remain open during sleep. The appliance also helps to protect your jaw, teeth, and gums from further damage. The oral sleep device can also help to prevent associated health risks.
If you are suffering from sleep apnea or are looking for a local Baltimore area dentist, contact our family dentist office in Windsor Mill. We welcome new patients and offer experienced, comprehensive dental care for your concerns and goals when it comes to your smile. Contact us at (410) 216-4023 or request an appointment online.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
A dentist can have an oral device custom-made to fit perfectly in your mouth. Instead of using a CPAP machine, you can use this custom-made appliance that will help keep your airway open while you sleep. We will create impressions of your teeth and those will be used to fabricate the mouthpiece that will fit seamlessly in your mouth.
Oral appliances have been shown to help people who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea. Also, they are very helpful for people who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine. They offer a higher compliance rate since they are so easy to use and less invasive.
Teeth grinding is a common indicator of sleep apnea. Your dentist will be able to tell if you grind your teeth during your bi-annual dental appointments. However, a dentist cannot provide a diagnosis for sleep apnea. If your dentist suspects you suffer from it, he will recommend that you schedule an appointment with your doctor.