Dental Link to Sleep Apnea
Many Americans experience headaches at some point in their lives. Additionally, many Americans experience snoring. Did you know that these two conditions can be linked? The condition that spawns these symptoms is called sleep apnea and it can also cause jaw pain.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes you to ultimately stop breathing for extended periods of time while you sleep. If you stop breathing for an extended time, you are depriving your body and brain of oxygen. If you have sleep apnea, this could happen hundreds of times during a single sleep cycle.
Sleep apnea has two primary causes. The first, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is caused by the airway becoming blocked due to soft tissue collapsing in the back of the throat. The other, less common, type, called central sleep apnea, occurs from the brain not sending the ‘breathe’ signal to the breathing muscles.
Unfortunately, only one of the two types of sleep apnea can be treated with dentistry, which is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.
How Can Dentistry Fix Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Sleep apnea can be treated in numerous ways. Here are a few ways your dentist can help you with sleep apnea:
- Sleep apnea “snoring” mouth guard (oral appliance)
- Jaw surgery
- Invisalign to realign teeth
You may be surprised to see that straightening your teeth via Invisalign can treat sleep apnea. Straightening your teeth lets your jaw sit exactly where it should, preventing the collapse of the soft tissues. The catch is that it doesn’t always work for everyone. In some cases, more aggressive intervention is required. However, Invisalign is an avenue exploring since the worst-case scenario is having a beautiful smile!
Some alternative options include:
- Positive airway pressure devices
- Upper airway stimulation therapy
- Weight loss
If you think you may have sleep apnea, schedule an appointment with Noblesville Dentistry in Noblesville, your nearby Carmel dentist office. Your dentist should be able to perform a full mouth evaluation. You can also have a sleep study performed to help you get on the right path. Wouldn’t you love to get rid of your jaw pain, headaches, and snoring?