Some people experience the unfortunate symptoms of sleep apnea without realizing that there is a cause. Your Surrey dentist may be able to help spot the signs that you are experiencing sleep apnea during your routine visit and suggest that you follow up with your physician for diagnosis.
The most common symptom reported by those suffering from sleep apnea is waking up exhausted after a full night's sleep. Because sleep apnea can harm your teeth, your dentist may be the first to notice the symptoms and share this information with you.
When someone has sleep apnea, they will notice that their breathing is frequently interrupted while they are trying to sleep. These pauses can result from a lack of respiratory effort, a physical obstruction of airflow, or a combination of the two. The duration and frequency of these pauses can vary greatly.
The Obvious Signs Of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can have an effect on your oral health. Your dentist may notice these common signs during your routine exam:
- Receding or inflamed gums
- Tongue with scalloped edges
- Worn tooth surfaces
- Teeth grinding (bruxism), which may cause wear and breakage
- Spike in cavities due to damage to teeth as a result of grinding
- Redness in the throat (caused by excessive snoring)
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is caused by a physical obstruction in airflow while sleeping. Choking or gasping while sleeping, waking frequently during the night, night sweats, morning headaches, loud snoring, high blood pressure, and dry mouth when waking are all common symptoms of OSA.
A person who is experiencing these symptoms may spend the day feeling exhausted despite having slept a full night. Sleep apnea has also been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
What Steps Will My Dentist Take If They Spot The Signs Of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea cannot be diagnosed by a dentist. However, because your jaw and related structures can contribute to OSA, they are often some of the first people who can spot symptoms or let you know if you have an increased risk of developing the condition.
Your dentist can perform a dental exam as well as take X-rays of your neck and mouth, which may reveal abnormally large tissues in the throat or other airway blockages. If they notice any physical obstructions, they will advise you to see your doctor.