There are a lot of dentists who now offer treatment options for sleep apnea, but have you ever wondered what the correlation is between dentists and sleep apnea? Sleep apnea does not have huge correlations with dentistry, but it can have some effects on your oral health. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, it's important to understand the risks this condition can have on your oral health. Here are the main two risks you can encounter in your mouth from sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a health problem that prevents a person from breathing properly when asleep, and it is often the result of relaxed tissue in the throat. When this tissue relaxes too much, it blocks a person's breathing passageway. This affects the body in many ways, and one part affected is the jaw.
A person's jaw will naturally begin to clamp down as a way of trying to allow the person to breathe. Repeated clamping down of the jaw leads to pain and inflammation, and this eventually can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
TMJ can leave you will a sore jaw, face, and neck, and it can also cause you to experience frequent headaches and neck pain. It can also make it hard for you to open your mouth wide, talk, or chew. TMJ is a very painful problem, and it is often the result of untreated sleep apnea. This is one reason dentists are interested in treating sleep apnea in their patients.
Untreated sleep apnea can also have negative effects on your teeth, and these effects primarily occur from clenching on your jaw while sleeping. When you clench your teeth and jaw while you sleep, you are at a higher risk for grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding can lead to worn-down teeth and missing enamel. Missing enamel will often lead to sensitivity with your teeth and an increased risk of tooth decay. Grinding your teeth will also cause you to feel more pain with your jaw. It is a vicious cycle that should not be ignored.
It is often hard to know if you have sleep apnea or not. If your dentist asks you questions relating to this, you may get an idea as to whether you are at risk for this or not. If you are, you should get examined and treated. To learn more about the health effects and oral effects of sleep apnea, visit a dentist like Frederic J Mrugala DDS.