We frequently see patients with various kinds of jaw problems as well as worn or cracked teeth. While our patients may not be aware of it, our dentist in North Hollywood knows immediately that sleep apnea is the most likely culprit behind these symptoms.
Dentists are nearly always the first members of the medical community to notice sleep apnea symptoms and refer patients to doctors for a formal diagnosis. The referral is necessary because only a doctor specializing in sleep disorders can “officially” diagnose the problem.
For many years, sleep apnea was believed to be a mere inconvenience, loud snoring disrupting sleep. Our sleep apnea dentist in North Hollywood will tell you that the disorder is more than an annoyance. Over ten million people suffer from sleep apnea; many do not know they have the problem. Not every sufferer experiences life-threatening complications because of sleep apnea, but the disorder ties to serious illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Additionally, those with sleep apnea must endure multiple medical problems such as oxygen deprivation and significant sleep deprivation.
The oral problems frequently caused by sleep apnea are not widely publicized. Although through patient education, more people are learning about the link between sleep apnea and dental issues.
Here are some symptoms of sleep apnea we frequently see.
• Tooth grinding (also called bruxism)-We see many patients who show signs of tooth grinding such as worn teeth. Patients with bruxism often also have chipped or cracked teeth because of the tremendous pressure the jaw exerts. Researchers tell us that the link between bruxism and sleep apnea is that a patient begins grinding their teeth as a way to wake the body and breathe.
• Temporomandibular joint problems (TMJ)- Sleep apnea and TMJ relate to each other through tooth grinding and jaw clenching. It is very common for a patient with sleep apnea to wake with extreme headaches radiating from their jaws.
• Dry mouth- Patients who complain of dry mouth, especially upon waking, tend to be apnea patients who mouth- breathe during the night.
If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact our office. There are many types of treatments our dentist can suggest that can make a huge difference in your sleep and your life.