Patients at our office are often surprised to hear that dentists tend to be the first medical practitioners who find signs of sleep apnea. While it is true that only a medical doctor can formally diagnose sleep apnea, our San Francisco dentist frequently spots indications of sleep apnea and then refers patients to medical doctors for sleep apnea tests.
Our dentists and staff want to correct the misconception that sleep apnea is just loud snoring. This disorder has potentially dangerous effects because sleep apnea sufferers have a temporary pause in their breathing, which can bring about oxygen deprivation in some cases.
Sleep Apnea affects more than ten-million people every year, and it has negative impacts on your oral health.
• Bruxism, typically called teeth grinding, often occurs when your brain uses it as a signal to wake up and breath. Teeth grinding impacts your dental health in some negative ways. When grinding and clenching your teeth, you put added strain on the temporomandibular joint. After a time, this could lead to a full-blown TMJ disorder. Additionally, you can injure your teeth by cracking the enamel or wearing down your tooth so much that the root is exposed.
• Dry mouth is an effect of sleep apnea. We know this because patients who see our sleep apnea dentist in San Francisco are typically mouth breathers because of the sleep apnea. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, it can lead to several oral health problems. Having little or no saliva increases your odds for gum disease, mouth infections, and tooth decay. This happens because saliva continually rinses away bacteria which cause these diseases.
In addition to these dental issues, sleep apnea links to other disorders such as headaches, depression, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Our sleep apnea patients also report excessive sleepiness which can be dangerous when paired with driving or operating machinery.
There are successful treatments for sleep apnea that our office can provide for you. Be sure to talk to one of our dentists if you believe you may have sleep apnea.