Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Your Dental Health
Snoring occurs when there is a partial obstruction of the airway which causes the palatal tissues to vibrate. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue collapses on the palate and/or back of the throat during sleep, resulting in an airflow reduction for at least 10 seconds.
Snoring is a social problem, particularly for your partner, but obstructive sleep apnea poses a significant health risk for the patient as it can lead to irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Also, sleep apnea is disruptive of one’s sleep, causing excessive daytime sleepiness,
Snoring and sleep apnea can have damaging effect to your oral health such as:
- Drying out your mouth by decreasing saliva production. Saliva protects and heals you gums, tongue, and teeth. A reduction in saliva can cause more cavities as well as damages your oral tissues.
- People with sleep apnea disorder are more likely to clench and grind while they sleep. This can damage the enamel of teeth causing chipping and cracking as well as lead to headaches and toothaches. Clenching and grinding puts excessive stress on the jaw, mouth, neck and shoulders, which causes the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
Your dentist plays a vital role in watching out for signs of potential health problems. By identifying dental symptoms of sleep apnea, dentists can help their patients realize a higher quality of life and help prevent potentially deadly complications that can come from improper diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.
What treatments can be done??
- Oral appliances are the first treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea (snore guard)
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a treatment option for severe sleep apnea
- Oral appliances may be used for patients who cannot tolerate the CPAP device
The largest number of patients with sleep apnea (obstructive sleep apnea) are in the mild to moderate categories and should be treated with oral appliances.
A Snore Guard is a small intra-oral device that is designed to prevent the jaw and tongue from falling back into the throat which restrict the air passage. This technique is referred to as mandibular repositioning which has been proven to eliminate airway obstruction and reduce or stop snoring. Similar to molding custom athletic mouth guards, Snore Guards are prepared by heating it during the fitting process. The inner lining is softened for custom fitting to your needs. It should fit comfortably over your upper and lower teeth while you sleep to keep your lower jaw in a comfortable forward position. A Snore guard is a small which makes it perfect for the business professional that travels.
Your Dental professional can have a customized snore guard designed just for you.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, or if you would like to know more information about a snore guard in the Hamilton/Stoney creek area, call Century Stone Dental at 905-545-4883 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation with Dr. Christopher Sims.