According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are an estimated 18 million people in the United States who suffer from sleep apnea. This scary condition can show up in a lot of ways, but it is most often relative to interruptions in regular breathing while you sleep. If you are afraid that you have sleep apnea, you may not think to talk to your dentist about the problem, but the dentist is actually one of the first people you may want to talk to about your symptoms. Take a look at some of the ways a dental care service can help you with a medical condition like sleep apnea.
A dentist can help diagnose sleep apnea.
Even though dentists are knowledgeable about your teeth, they are also masters at recognizing problems with oral health and the shape of your mouth. There are certain characteristics that can be present more often for people who have sleep apnea. For instance, people who grind their teeth may have sleep apnea. It is actually not uncommon for dentists to see certain signs in a patient's mouth and ask them if they have been having sleep issues.
A dentist can help determine the causes of sleep apnea.
There can be several factors that contribute to sleep apnea issues, and many of those problems can be relative to the face and mouth. For instance, if an individual is obese, they may have more pressure against their airway when they lie in an inclined position, which will be easy for the dentist to see during a regular exam because the airway at the back of the throat will not be as large or as open. When asked, most dentists can give you a few pointers about what is causing your symptoms, and some may offer the information without being asked at all.
A dentist can prescribe devices to help with sleep apnea.
Certain oral appliances may actually help people who have sleep apnea. There are several different devices out there that could be helpful. For example, some devices are created to push the jaw forward while the mouth is closed, which can help open up the airway at the back of the throat and prevent breathing disruptions. Your dentist can take a look at your mouth, your airway, and the shape of your jawline to determine what if any devices could positively affect the symptoms you have been experiencing.