Sleep Apnea & Your Dentist: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
Can My Dentist Diagnose Sleep Apnea?
If you find yourself snoring and have problems sleeping, you may have a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. This may prompt you to schedule a visit to your primary care physician, but did you know that a dentist diagnose sleep apnea? According to WebMD, a dentist is likely the earliest diagnostician of sleep disorders including sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea? What are the Symptoms?
Obstructive sleep apnea is when air is not able to flow in or out of your mouth. The soft tissues in the back of your throat can close completely, causing you to temporarily stop breathing. Even though you may continue to make efforts to breath properly, it is a serious condition that can pose a life-threatening risk if it isn’t treated. This is because the muscles in your airway will tighten, causing you to lose oxygen to your brain.
In addition, the condition is more common than you may believe, as the National Sleep Foundation reported an estimated 18 million individuals in the United States have sleep apnea.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Grinding your teeth
- Gasping for air when you’re sleeping
- Headaches in the morning
- Excessive, loud snoring
In addition, if you have a swollen jaw, redness in your throat, or your tongue has scalloped edges, you should visit a dentist that offers treatment for sleep apnea. There are factors that increase your risk for the condition, which may include chronic nasal congestion, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and if you are overweight.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea by our San Antonio Family Dentists
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, our dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your teeth, looking for signs of wear and tooth breakage. Note, grinding your teeth due to sleep apnea can also lead to receding gums and an increase in cavities!
If our dentists determine that you may have sleep apnea, they will recommend you for home sleep testing (HST). Once the lab returns the results, our dentists will help you choose the best treatment option for you.
San Antonio Sleep Apnea Treatment to Help You Live With Sleep Apnea
There are numerous treatment options for those with sleep apnea, including an oral appliance known as a Jaw Advancing Device or Mandibular Advancement Device. Our San Antonio dentists will customize your device for comfort and effectiveness by using a mold formed to the shape of your mouth. This appliance effectively treats sleep apnea, and it also treats snoring.
Another treatment option for sleep apnea includes a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine (CPAP). This machine pushes air into the back of the throat and acts as a splint to keep the airway open.
If you think you may have sleep apnea and wonder, “can a dentist diagnose sleep apnea?” contact Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental. Our San Antonio dentists can diagnose and help treat your sleep apnea.