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Sleep Apnea and Your Oral Health

You may be surprised to hear a dentist in Mount Prospect asking you questions about your sleep. But they’re doing so for good reason—sleep apnea affects millions of American and the causes of sleep apnea are strongly linked to your oral health. For example, if you have an enlarged tongue, a small jaw, or your throat muscles are soft and loose, this may cause blockages in your airway which results in sleep apnea.

And sleep apnea is not something you should ignore. Left untreated, sleep apnea will get worse which means your quality of sleep will deteriorate and you may be at heightened risk for other health problems. Since this is very important for your overall health, we’ll review the things you should know about sleep apnea and your oral health.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When someone has sleep apnea their breathing is very shallow and they may stop breathing temporarily. This condition occurs anytime something is blocking your airway while you sleep. The partial or full obstruction makes breathing harder because your chest and diaphragm are forced to work hard to get air into your lungs.

How do I Know I Have Sleep Apnea?

You won’t know for sure without a diagnosis and often times, even though people with sleep apnea don’t have high-quality sleep, they won’t know that their airway is blocked. Still, there are some warning signs that, if you notice them, should tell you that it’s time to ask a dentist in Mount Prospect about sleep apnea.

Generally, people with sleep apnea will snore while they sleep, they’ll have headaches, night sweats, daytime fatigue, and they’ll be restless during sleep. If you have sleep apnea you may also wake up suddenly with the feeling that you’re choking.

What Are My Treatment Options? 

The treatment options for sleep apnea that your dentist in Mount Prospect will recommend depending on your individual case. For people who have mild cases of sleep apnea, simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating better, avoiding alcohol, or using saline nasal spray may do the trick.

Other patients may require oral appliances such as a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) or a Tongue Repositioning Device (TRD). Breathing machines and/or surgery may also be necessary.

At Kakos Smiles, we’re trained to treat sleep apnea so give our Arlington Heights Office a call at 847-758-0100 to learn about your treatment options.