Before you call your physician, consider a trip to the dentist. These could be signs of sleep apnea that are directly related to your oral health.
Sleep apnea occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. In some cases a person can stop breathing hundreds of times a night. When that happens, it means the brain is not receiving oxygen. This is a very serious sleep disorder that if left untreated, can take 7-10 years off a person’s life. It’s also related to other diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, it’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 80 percent of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed.
There are several factors that increase the risk of obstructed sleep apnea like having a small upper airway (or large tongue, tonsils or uvula), having a recessed chin, small jaw or a large overbite. This is where a dentist, like Dr. Todd Blevins, can help.
First, Dr. Blevins will meet with you for a free consultation, and will most likely recommend a home sleep test. This test can be done from the comfort of your own home versus going to a sleep facility. Once you bring your test back, he will have a medical doctor review your results and give a diagnosis. (Although dentists are well versed in symptoms and treatments, only a medical doctor can diagnose sleep apnea.)
Depending on your results, a small oral device that looks similar to a mouth guard could be recommended. Worn at night, it’s a custom-made appliance that is fitted to your teeth. It helps to bring the jaw forward to open up the airway. With nightly wear, snoring, teeth grinding, and sleep apnea should significantly decrease.
If you are suffering from snoring, daytime drowsiness, waking up with a dry mouth, sore throat, teeth grinding, or morning headaches, schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Blevins today.
During the month of October, Blevins Dentistry is offering a FREE dental sleep therapy consultation, which includes a 3D x-ray of the airway, and a take-home sleep screening. Normally this would cost $400, but it’s FREE for those who call before November 30, 2018 to schedule an appointment. Go online or call us today at 843-561-4546 to set up you free dental sleep therapy consultation. (A reading/diagnosis fee by a sleep specialist will apply.)