You likely already know that periodontal disease is linked to heart disease but what you may not be aware of is that your mouth can also show signs of sleep disordered breathing. The mouth is the beginning of the airway and there are certain signs of sleep disordered breathing that we are trained to look for such as “scalloping” or indentations on the sides of the tongue, worn teeth from grinding, and an elongated soft palate or uvula. Knowing this, both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Dental Association recommend that dentists screen their patients for sleep disordered breathing. We want to let you know that we will be screening all patients for obstructive sleep apnea, which can be life threatening and can also lead to things like high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke!
Potential symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, unrefreshing sleep, irritability, choking or gasping during sleep, or difficulty focusing. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms and there are often other signs of sleep apnea such as A-Fib, high blood pressure, diabetes, and acid reflux that go along with sleep apnea. If you are concerned that you or someone you love may have sleep apnea or if you know you have sleep apnea but aren’t being treated please call us for a free airway consultation.
During that consultation we will ask you more questions about your sleep and overall health and complete a thorough airway evaluation. Based on the results of that evaluation, you may be referred to a physician for a sleep study. Often these sleep studies can be done in the comfort of your own home with minimal monitoring equipment.
Most people are aware of CPAP therapy but there are many people who can’t tolerate the mask and hose that go along with it. I want you to know that you do have options if that applies to you. For people who snore, have mild or moderate sleep apnea, or who can’t tolerate a CPAP we can make a simple dental device that maintains an open airway while you sleep.
If any of the following statements applies to you, please contact our office for a free airway consultation:
- I have a CPAP, but I don’t use it.
- I use a CPAP but not every night.
- I feel tired or drowsy unless I have caffeine to help me stay awake.
- I’d like to have a back-up option for my CPAP (when I don’t have access to electricity)
- I snore (or my bed partner snores).
- I have hypertension, cardiac arrythmia, diabetes, acid reflux, and/or depression.
We look forward to helping our patients live and sleep safer, so give us a call for a free airway consultation!
Call our Choctaw, OK, dental office, to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.