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Can Dental Problems Cause Sleep Apnea?

September 23, 2022
Posted By: Jensen Beach Dental
grandmother with sleep apnea at the dentist 34957

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep condition that causes breathing cessation during the night. Your Jensen Beach, FL, dentist offers sleep apnea treatment because there can be a link between sleep apnea and dental health.

Your organs require oxygen to stay healthy. So, body systems are at risk when you stop breathing several times during sleep and across many nights. Let's explore types, risks, and how sleep apnea relates to dental health. We'll also discuss treatments to protect your physical and oral health.

Continue reading to learn more, or give us all call to schedule your consultation with the dentist. 

Sleep Apnea in Jensen Beach, FL: Types and Causes

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Central Sleep Apnea
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Complex Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is neurological, meaning there is nothing physically obstructing breathing as you sleep. However, your brain does not send the message to your lungs to breathe continually.

With this type of sleep apnea, you may notice daytime sleepiness and periods of wakefulness during the night. Specific drugs or congestive heart failure may cause this type of the sleep disorder.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this condition. With obstructive sleep apnea, tissues block breathing as you sleep. This type of sleep apnea may be related to obesity or the anatomical construction of your larynx or windpipe. In addition, it can be aggravated by certain medications.

You'll notice daytime sleepiness with obstructive sleep apnea and may also experience high blood pressure. The most common symptom is snoring. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

Complex sleep apnea combines the central and obstructive forms, and the symptoms are nearly identical.

Your doctor will try to find the underlying cause of your condition, especially central sleep apnea, but often the reason is not apparent.

No matter your type of sleep apnea, seeking treatment is crucial to avoid potentially serious complications.

Sleep Apnea Complicationswoman with sleep apnea | dentist 34957

Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a whole host of complications, many of them serious. Early in the condition, you may notice only daytime sleepiness, but over time, untreated sleep apnea can severely influence life quality and put you at serious risk for systemic complications.

Untreated sleep apnea can lead to:

  • Hypertension
  • Enlargement of the heart
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritated throat
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Mood changes

When sleep apnea is related to dental health, it can also cause tooth loss and oral pain, specifically due to bruxism (teeth grinding).

Sleep Apnea and Your Oral Health

Sleep apnea has been associated with bruxism, which can lead to tooth wear, tooth fractures, and even tooth loss. Additionally, untreated bruxism can cause bulky jawbone joints (visible musculature around the lower face), headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and general discomfort.

In turn, bruxism puts you at risk for TMJ or disorders of the temporomandibular joints. The TMJs connect the lower jaw to the skull and allow for movement—speaking, eating, and yawning. When the TMJ is damaged or not functioning correctly, you can expect pain, similar to what you experience with bruxism.

These issues can also be linked to crooked teeth or those in need of orthodontic support.

The dry mouth associated with sleep apnea can also increase cavity risks.

Fortunately, our dentist offers TMJ, bruxism, and sleep apnea treatment in Jensen Beach, FL.

old couple smiling after sleep apnea treatment in jensen beach flSleep Apnea Treatment

The first line of treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy. This continuous airway machine keeps your throat open during the night. However, some people have difficulty acclimating to this cumbersome machine, and it isn't easy to travel with a CPAP. As a result, some patients use their CPAP at home and rely on appliance therapy during travel.

Our dentist can design a custom appliance that helps keep the airway open while you sleep safely. Your dentist can also assess you for TMJ and bruxism treatment. Therapies for TMJ and bruxism may include special exercises to support better jawbone health.

We have you come in for a consultation with the dentist to learn whether you're a candidate for appliance therapy.

For Sleep Apnea Treatment in Jensen Beach, FL, Contact Us

Sleep apnea can put your health at serious risk, and when coupled with bruxism or TMJ, it can also be very painful and cost you your teeth.

If you have symptoms of sleep apnea or if you would like to arrange a consultation with the dentist, we encourage you to book an appointment today. And we are happy to work with CareCredit.

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