Can Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health?

Our patients are often surprised to learn that the sleep apnea patient’s dentist initially discovers the majority of sleep apnea cases. So many of the early signs of the disorder show up in the mouth; it is difficult for a trained professional not to notice something is not right. Our dentist in Huntington Beach is well aquatinted with the sleep apnea indicators and is certain to check for any tell-tale signs of sleep apnea.

An important fact that many people do not realize is sleep apnea is a significant health problem. Over 10-million people experience some form of sleep apnea. Many of those who have the disorder experience a mild case, but there are tens of thousands of sleep apnea patients who struggle with other significant health problems linked to sleep apnea.

Our sleep apnea dentist is quick to point out that sleep apnea is much more than an inconvenient series of nights filled with loud snoring. Sleep Apnea has links to major health problems. Some of these health problems include:

• Heart Disease- The cycle of frequent waking after you stop breathing, puts tremendous stress on the cardiovascular system. The body has a difficult time trying to adjust to continual drops in blood oxygen levels. As a result, patients with sleep apnea are likely to experience irregular heartbeats or heart attacks.

• High Blood Pressure- When the body senses the brain, and other organs are not getting enough oxygen (because of the poorly oxygenated blood) hormones secrete to raise the blood pressure, with the hope of getting more oxygen.

• Obesity- Lack of deep sleep that accompanies sleep apnea leads the body to release a hormone called ghrelin. It is also known as the hunger hormone. When the hormone pairs with the constant fatigue seen in sleep apnea patients, the patient is prone to overeating and eventually obesity.

• Mood and Cognition Disturbances- Lack of sleep disrupts the natural patterns of sleep the human body needs to think clearly. Additionally, depressed mood is a frequent problem seen in sleep apnea patients.

If you believe that you may have sleep apnea, please tell our dentist right away. We have various options to help end your sleep apnea problems for good.

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Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Snoring man, frustrated woman

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.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health

The snoring

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.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

The snoring

Sleep apnea is associated with out-of-control snoring. But that’s just one symptom, and it’s harmless. Multiple other symptoms could be more disruptive of your quality of life. Comparing your symptoms to a list won’t help you feel better, but it could put you on a path to a diagnosis.

 

Sleep apnea is a pattern of interrupted sleep, caused by the collapse of throat muscles. This condition can be either obstructive, when the cause is physical, or central—when the cause is neurological. Either one is bad for the business of your sleep. While it’s up to your sleeping partner to rate your snoring, there are signs you can notice yourself. These include:

 

Waking multiple times per night to urinate
Waking up with a headache, sore throat or dry mouth, or a sore jaw
Recurrent reawakening or insomnia
Persistent feelings of fatigue
Inability to concentrate or increased irritability during the day

 

In an apneic episode, the body ceases to breathe. In severe cases, it happens consistently throughout the night. Obviously, this can impact your health. Along with the pre-existing health patterns that may have led to sleep apnea in the first place—like obesity or alcoholism—you should treat your sleep apnea with urgency. This means getting a diagnosis, which often means getting a sleep study. Sleep physicians like our San Francisco dentist often recommend a sleep study both before and after diagnosis—one to determine a course of treatment, and the other to determine the effectiveness of that treatment.
Available treatments include CPAP—or continuous positive airway pressure—and OAT—or oral appliance therapy. CPAP is a machine that regulates airflow through a mask. OAT is for patients who do not respond to the invasiveness of CPAP, and uses a mouth guard to reposition the jaw for better breathing.

 

To find out if you have sleep apnea, contact our expert in sleep apnea in San Francisco.

How to Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

The snoring

Sleep apnea is a very tricky condition to diagnose. This is because most of the symptoms can look like signs of other health issues. Furthermore, the most telling symptoms occur at night during sleep. Identifying sleep apnea is vital to get quality night’s sleep, and prevent serious health conditions. Here is what you should look for if you are concerned you have sleep apnea.

Symptoms during sleep:

• Snoring
• Holding the breath
• Gasping for air
• Waking up to go to the bathroom frequently
• Insomnia
• Bruxism, or habitually clenching and grinding of the teeth
• Nightmares
• Breathing through the mouth
• Loud breathing

Symptoms during the day:

• Morning headaches
• Dry mouth
• Moodiness and irritability
• Cravings for sugary and/or fatty foods
• Weight gain
• Obesity
• Depression
• Constant fatigue
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, such as heart conditions, diabetes, and stroke. Furthermore, the lack of quality sleep can cause the patient to fall asleep at inopportune times or in dangerous situations.

Our sleep apnea doctors will work with you to determine the best treatment for you. This may include certain lifestyle changes, an oral appliance, or CPAP machine. In certain cases, surgery might be necessary. Schedule your appointment today.

How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Health

The snoring

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. It affects not just your sleep, but also many other aspects of your life and health. If our dentists determine that you have sleep apnea, treatment is essential for relieving your symptoms and restoring your health.

Consequences of sleep apnea can include:

  • Daytime fatigue as a result of repeated awakenings that prevent healthy restorative sleep
  • Moodiness, depression, irritability, and difficulty concentrating due to sleep deprivation
  • High blood pressure due to repeated and sudden drops in blood oxygen levels
  • An increased risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack, and stroke as a result of cardiovascular strain
  • An increased risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes

Sleep apnea can also affect partners and loved ones who do not suffer from the condition due to the loud, chronic snoring preventing them from getting the sleep they need, too.

Proper treatment, which may include lifestyle changes, the use of a sleep apnea oral appliance, or the use of a positive airway pressure machine, can improve your health and your quality of sleep. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule an evaluation with our sleep apnea dentist in North Hollywood.

How To Know if You Have Sleep Apnea

The snoring

Sleep Apnea affects an estimated twenty million American adults. As many as four out of five people might not be diagnosed, leaving them at risk for serious health problems, ranging from weight gain and fatigue to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is treatable, but it must first be diagnosed.

Signs that could indicate that you have OSA include:

• Loud, chronic snoring, which might be punctuated with pauses in breathing and choking, or gasping sounds as breathing begins again
• Fatigue, daytime sleepiness or difficulty waking in the morning, which occurs because your brain must partially awaken each time your breathing stops in order to reopen your airway
• Waking with a headache, which occurs due to low oxygen levels, widening of the blood vessels, and vascular headaches
• High blood pressure, which is linked to the strain on the cardiovascular system
• Moodiness, irritability, and depression, which occur as a result of sleep deprivation

If you have symptoms of OSA, you need to contact our office to schedule an evaluation. During this evaluation, we will perform a physical exam, and take your family and medical history. We might also recommend a sleep study, which will measure various vital signs during sleep. The results will provide more information and help us make an accurate diagnosis. Call our office today to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our dentist in Huntington Beach.