The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognizes sleep apnea as a serious sleep disorder that can produce breathing interruptions during multiple sleep cycles. The condition could develop because of weakened muscles in the airway, obesity, and jaw dysfunction. There are several risk factors that could increase apneas and decrease the amount of oxygen delivered to the lungs while sleeping.
Understanding the Effects of Sleep Apnea
Since sleep apnea causes frequent disruptions throughout the night, the person could awaken exhausted and without having adequate daytime energy. The effects could prevent the individual from maintaining mental focus on daily tasks and struggling with concentration.
If the condition goes untreated, the person could face serious and long-term health issues. The persistent reductions in oxygen saturation could cause too much strain on the heart and hypertension. A Family Dentist could provide assistance for patients suffering from sleep apnea.
What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
The most common symptoms are breathing disruptions, persistent and loud snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, and fatigue during daytime hours. Individuals who have the condition have attention and concentration difficulties, forgetfulness, and dry mouth.
The patients will also experience headaches when waking up and nocturia. Many sufferers experience sexual dysfunction, too. Some people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea may experience depression, insomnia, or anxiety.
How Do Sleep Apnea and Oral Health Affect Each Other?
If a person is not getting adequate rest, there is an increase in mouth ulcers, dry mouth that leads to bad breath, and periodontal disease. A patient that has TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) is more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, or clenching of the jaw could lead to jaw damage that results in sleep apnea. The conditions also increase dental damage that heightens the risk of periodontal disease, especially if the damage isn’t treated properly.
What Are Signs of Combined Effects?
Symptoms of a combination of sleep apnea and connecting dental issues are excessively loud teeth clenching or grinding that is audible to others, especially a partner sleeping with the person. Jaw pain and tightness of the joints, raw spots, chewing on the inside of the cheeks, headaches around the temples are also symptoms of connecting sleep apnea and dental health problems.
What Treatments Help?
Doctors prescribe the use of a CPAP machine to force the mouth closed and increase the flow of oxygen to the lungs while the person is sleeping. The machine prevents obstructions that cause sleep quality issues. The device is worn throughout the night when the person rests, and the forced air helps with deviated septums that can contribute to sleep apnea.
A mouthpiece is available through a dental professional to correct the positioning of the jaw. Whenever the jaw is out of its proper position, it could obstruct the airway and increase sleep disturbances that reduce the flow of oxygen to the lungs.
Sleep apnea is a major sleep disorder that is caused by an obstruction that stops the person from getting adequate oxygen when sleeping. The most common causes of the condition are a deviated septum or jaw displacement. Individuals that smoke, are obese, or have severe dental problems could develop sleep apnea. If a person experiences daytime fatigue and frequent sleep disturbances, doctors recommend undergoing a sleep study to arive at a proper diagnosis, and the clinician or a dental professional can provide the appropriate treatment.