Sleep-Related Dental Problems
Sleep disorders and dental health are related in many ways.
Sleep apnea and other sleep-related disorders such as excessive snoring, bruxism (a term for grinding your teeth in your sleep), and acid reflux may be caused by a number of issues related to your airway while you sleep.
A sleep care appliance can help alleviate your symptoms and improve the quality of your sleep by adjusting the position of your jaw and allowing for better airflow.
If you're struggling with a sleep disorder, speak to one of our North Vancouver dentists to see if a sleep care appliance may be the right solution for you.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly starts and stops. The lapses in breathing result in lower quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can result in serious health consequences.
This condition is normally associated with loud, intense snoring, but just because a person snores doesn’t mean they have sleep apnea. It can be caused by being overweight, genetics, excessive alcohol consumption or drug use that cause the airways to become more relaxed and cause blockages.
According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders in the United States. It can affect children and adults and people of both sexes, although it is more common in men.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
Read our most frequently asked questions about sleep apnea symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available at Seycove Dental.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are listed below. Just because you have one, or a few of these, doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. Check with your doctor to be certain.
- Very loud snoring
- Sleepiness and loss of energy when awake
- Painful headaches
- Restless sleep
- Insomnia and recurrent awakenings
- Waking up with a dry or sore throat
- Waking up in the night with gasping or choking sensations
- Sudden mood changes
- Poor concentration
- Going to the bathroom frequently at night
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed using a polysomnogram, also known as a sleep study. This can be done at home or at a sleep disorder center. The test records activities that occur while you sleep, including brain activity, breathing, and oxygen levels. It also measures how long you spend in each sleep stage, how frequently you wake up, if you stop breathing, if you snore, and your body position.
After the sleep study, a specialist goes over the data from your test. They analyze your brain activity and body system functioning to diagnose if a sleep disorder is present and recommend treatment.
If recommended, a dentist trained in sleep medicine works with the specialist to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Our office can provide you with a sleep apnea oral appliance, just contact us for a consultation.
How is sleep apnea treated?
Treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may involve surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy.
Oral appliances provide the least invasive option and are often a good choice for the treatment of mild to moderate OSA. A carefully calibrated appliance can comfortably help hold the jaw in a precise position throughout the night, allowing critical oxygen flow.
All treatment recommendations should be made in consultation with your sleep physician.
Once a treatment path that you can use consistently is chosen, we may be able to provide critical support for your efforts. If appliance therapy is selected, it’s essential the right method and positioning are designed to precisely maintain your airway.
What are the types of sleep apnea?
There are three main types of sleep apnea:
1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea -This is the most common form of sleep apnea and is caused by a person’s throat becoming overly relaxed while sleeping, blocking the airways and preventing normal breathing.
2. Central Sleep Apnea - This occurs when your brain fails to submit signals to your breathing muscles, resulting in not breathing for a short period of time. This is a rare form of sleep apnea.
3. Complex Sleep Apnea - Also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.