It has often been found that there are several links between your general health and your dental health. One issue that can lead to many dental problems is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes abnormal breathing patterns while you sleep that may lead to dental issues such as jaw pain, teeth grinding, and clenching. Keledjian Dental can help treat sleep apnea and stop it from causing damage to your teeth.
Sleep Apnea and Oral Health
One of the most common signs of sleep apnea is jaw pain from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ. When the throat relaxes while you sleep, the jaw will respond by clamping down to try and prevent your airway from becoming blocked. When your jaw clamps like this, it can cause stress and damage to your teeth and jaw.
Sleep apnea can also cause people to grind their teeth while they sleep. Continuously grinding your teeth will cause the surface of your teeth to become worn down and can even cause them to chip and crack. While these symptoms may not be obvious right away, jaw pain or pain while chewing may result from prolonged grinding.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Making sure you see your dentist regularly is not only important to your oral health, but they can catch early signs of general health problems such as sleep apnea as well. They can determine whether you have sleep apnea by simply asking about your sleep patterns as well as doing an oral exam. Your dentist will also be able to see signs of clenching and grinding during this exam. Dentist are normally the ones who catch signs of sleep apnea first because most people see their dentist more often than their general physician.
If you do have mild to moderate sleep apnea, your dentist may prescribe a sleep appliance. A sleep appliance can be used to treat and prevent symptoms of sleep apnea such as snoring, clenching and grinding.A custom mouth guard can be used to shift the lower jaw outward in order to open up your airway while you sleep. Not only will the mouth guard help you breathe at night, but it will also protect your teeth from the damage caused by grinding and clenching.
Sleep apnea may not seem like it causes many problems, but after a while it can cause extensive damage to your teeth and also lead to stroke and death. If you live in Madera, CA and have been experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, please contact our office today to schedule an exam.