What to Know About Sleep Apnea and Dental Health
Sleeping allows our bodies to rest, reset, and recover. But, sleep disorders can make getting a good night’s sleep nearly impossible. As a result, inadequate sleep can lead to significant health issues, including oral health problems.
The team at Wyse Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, serving Bloomington, IL and Champaign, IL, discuss sleep disorders, like sleep apnea. With simple yet innovative treatments, our patients can finally start getting the revitalizing sleep they need to thrive.
Has a medical professional recently diagnosed you with sleep apnea? If so, then you’ll need to know about the inherent link between sleep apnea and dental health.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which relaxed throat and neck muscles restrict airflow into the respiratory system while sleeping. As a result, patients with OSA may snore loudly or stop breathing for several seconds at a time.
Experts believe that OSA affects nearly 25 million adults in America, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness, brain fog, and depression. But, that’s not all; patients with OSA also experience profound oral health conditions that can take a major toll on their quality of life.
The Connection Between OSA and Dental Health
Sleep apnea can cause dental health issues that will worsen with time if left untreated. The three, most common oral health conditions that arise from OSA are:
- Dry mouth
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs)
Patients with OSA struggle to breathe while sleeping. This can cause patients to gasp for air and breath predominantly through the mouth. Breathing through the mouth, however, can dry out the oral cavity. In turn, patients will experience an uncomfortably dry mouth upon waking.
Aside from the unpleasant sensations of dry mouth, patients will also notice increased cavities and worsening gum irritation. Prolonged cavities and gum irritation often lead to tooth loss and irreversible periodontal disease.
Involuntary teeth grinding typically occurs while sleeping. Many patients with OSA clench and grind their teeth at night. This can put uneven and sustained pressure on the teeth, causing extensive dental damage, including:
- Worn, loose, or broken teeth
- Pain in the head, neck, jaw, and face
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Often, OSA-related bruxism leads to temporomandibular joint disorder. In fact, a 2013 study found that patients with OSA are three times more likely to suffer from a painful TMD.
TMD can have many symptoms, including:
- Difficulty chewing and speaking
- Clicking or popping in the jaw
- Migraines, earaches, and back or neck pain
- Locked jaws
Talk to Our Dentists about Sleep Apnea Treatment
At Wyse Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we help our patients address the devastating symptoms of OSA with effective sleep apnea treatments, like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy or oral appliance therapy. These treatments allow our patients to protect their oral health while getting a refreshing night’s sleep.
If you’re ready to explore sleep apnea treatments, schedule a consultation with our compassionate team. Patients from Bloomington, Champaign, and surrounding areas, can contact us or call our team directly at (309) 663-6393.