Improve Your Dental Health: Treat Sleep Apnea with Oral Surgery
Undiagnosed sleep apnea is known to cause serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, headaches, memory problems, and stroke. What many people may not know is that dental health issues can also be a side effect of undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea. Oral surgery can be your solution.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder in which the air circulating through your lungs is periodically obstructed. As a result, a person is unable to get enough oxygen to breathe and their sleep is severely interrupted. Sleep apnea may present as habitual snoring, and it can also be the reason why you feel sleep-deprived, foggy, stressed, or depressed even after getting a seemingly full-night’s rest every night.
Dental Problems Caused by Sleep Apnea
Research has shown that many sleep apnea patients are at a higher risk for developing oral diseases. In particular, they are vulnerable to:
- Gum disease. Periodontal disease can develop for people who suffer from chronically dry mouth. Because patients with sleep apnea breathe through their mouths, they typically have severe dry mouth which can irritate the gums. Over time, enamel and gum tissue will erode and can lead to full-blown gum disease and tooth loss.
- Bruxism. Sleep apnea, teeth grinding, and TMJ tend to go together. Bruxism usually occurs during sleep and eventually the unconscious habit will wear down tooth enamel that requires restorative dentistry solutions like porcelain crowns to correct the problem.
- Inflammatory responses. If you attempt to treat other oral health problems or undergo cosmetic dentistry before addressing your sleep apnea problem, you can expect that you may have more inflammation after any major procedures. People with sleep apnea take longer to heal after, for example, a dental implant procedure.
Treating Sleep Apnea
While your overall well-being will be impacted by sleep apnea over time, the daily struggle to stay awake and alert may be the most alarming symptom for patients. You may not think to visit your dentist first to address sleep apnea, but that is actually the best place to start. Your oral health provider will be able to diagnose your condition and refer you to an oral surgeon for treatment.
Why an oral surgeon? There are certainly dental appliances that can help sleep apnea sufferers find some relief and rest. However, some cases of obstructive sleep apnea require the removal of an excess of soft tissues by a practiced oral surgeon.
If it seems like surgery is excessive, think about sleep deprivation and the havoc it can cause in your life. Your ability to be an alert driver, a productive employee, an observant parent, a highly functioning member of society will all be affected by your lack of sleep.
Consult a Commerce Oral Surgeon for Sleep Apnea Treatment
The earlier sleep apnea is diagnosed and treated, the sooner you can be on your way to a real full night of rest. What is problematic for many sleep apnea sufferers is that they often aren’t aware of their own problem. Someone with sleep apnea may wake from restful sleep repeatedly, but they may not be fully awake. Nevertheless, that interruption of sleep that gets in the way of reaching REM will be difficult to tolerate over time.
Untreated sleep apnea can have life-threatening side effects. Consult oral surgeon Dr. William L. Thompson in Commerce, Michigan, with any questions you have about sleep apnea or its corresponding surgery. Contact us to schedule your consultation.