Your dental health is linked to many other aspects of your personal health. Dental health can provide clues about other health issues, including some potentially life-threatening conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Often associated with snoring and poor sleep, OSA actually causes you to stop breathing many times during sleep.
There’s a good chance that we will be the first to recognize your symptoms. We may also play a pivotal role in resolving them.
Why might we be the first to observe that you could have OSA? One of the more common symptoms of OSA is dry mouth, a condition that patients frequently bring up when visiting our office. Other common symptoms are snoring, morning headaches and lethargy. Once you tell us about your symptoms, we may refer you to a sleep specialist, who will make the final diagnosis.
If the sleep specialist determines that you have OSA, our role in your treatment begins. We can fit you with devices that will help keep your breathing passages open, such as a mandibular advancement device. Despite its complicated-sounding name, this device is simply a specially fitted mouthguard that keeps your jaw tilted down and slightly forward, helping keep your airway clear while you sleep.
Another implement that treats OSA is a tongue-restraining device. It does exactly what its name implies—it prevents your tongue from blocking airflow during the night. Whatever device you end up using, you need to visit us regularly. We can make sure your device is clean, remains in good shape and doesn’t need replacement.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, discuss it with us at your next visit