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What signs of sleep apnea are most obvious to dentists?

Some people experience the unfortunate symptoms of sleep apnea without realizing that there is a cause. Your 100 Mile House dentist may be able to help spot the signs that you are experiencing sleep apnea during your routine visit and suggest that you follow up with your physician for diagnosis.

The most common symptom reported in those that suffer from sleep apnea is that they wake up still exhausted after sleeping a full night. Your dentist may very well be the first person to notice the signs and share this information with you as sleep apnea can have a detrimental effect on your teeth.

When someone has sleep apnea, they will notice that their breathing is frequently interrupted while they are trying to sleep. These pauses can result from a lack of respiratory effort, a physical obstruction of airflow, or a combination of the two. The duration and frequency of these pauses can vary greatly.

The Obvious Signs Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can have an effect on your oral health. Your dentist may notice these common signs during your routine exam:

  • Receding or inflamed gums 
  • Tongue with scalloped edges 
  • Worn tooth surfaces 
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism), which may cause wear and breakage 
  • Spike in cavities due to damage to teeth as a result of grinding 
  • Redness in the throat (caused by excessive snoring) 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. OSA is caused by a physical obstruction of airflow while sleeping. OSA symptoms include choking or gasping while sleeping, waking frequently during the night, night sweats, morning headaches, loud snoring, high blood pressure, and dry mouth when waking.

A person experiencing these symptoms may spend the day feeling exhausted despite having slept a full night. Sleep apnea has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

What steps will my dentist take if they spot the signs of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea cannot be diagnosed by dentists. However, because your jaw and related structures can contribute to OSA, they are often some of the first people who can spot symptoms or tell you if you have an increased risk of developing the condition.

A dental exam and X-rays of your neck and mouth can be performed by your dentist, which may reveal abnormally large tissues in the throat or other airway blockages. If they notice any physical impediments, they will advise you to see a doctor.

Are you in need of a routine exam or opinion on symptoms that you are experiencing? Contact our 100 Mile House dentists today to schedule an appointment. 

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