Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that causes sufferers to stop breathing for 10 seconds or more while they sleep. In severe cases, sleep apnea can interrupt breathing for up to two minutes before patients wake up gasping for air.
Although anyone can develop sleep apnea, it’s more common among men than women. Other common risk factors include:
Dentists are uniquely positioned to notice possible sleep apnea symptoms, and they’re often the first healthcare professionals to do so. Among the common symptoms are dry mouth and grinding of teeth. Along with wearing down tooth surfaces, grinding can lead to swollen or receding gums, and make teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities. Dentists also typically see their patients more often than other healthcare professionals see them. Some dentists even take advanced special training in dental sleep medicine to help treat sleep apnea.
Aside from fatigue and other issues associated with lack of adequate sleep, sleep apnea, if untreated, can lead to other serious medical conditions, such as:
To treat sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is an alternative to continuous positive air pressure, better known as CPAP, which many patients find cumbersome. Dr. Kimche can create a custom-fitting device that looks much like a mouth guard. Such a device can provide a more comfortable, more portable option to relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.
If you snore, wake up often during the night, or tend to wake up tired, sleep apnea may be the reason for your sleepless nights or nightly tossing and turning. To learn about your options and treatments for sleep apnea, make an appointment with Dr. Scott Kimche at Mountain Dentistry in Park City, Utah. Call today or book an appointment online using the convenient online booking tool.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!