Have you ever heard of sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a condition in which an individual will suffer interrupted breathing patterns while they sleep. Although this may not seem like anything more than an inconvenience, the truth is that it can have severe oral health and physical health repercussions. If left untreated, sleep apnea has been known to give rise to diabetes, severe depression, high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks.
Treating sleep apnea often depends on understanding if you are at a heightened risk for it. Individuals who are 40 or overweight tend to be more likely to develop sleep apnea. Furthermore, if you have a family history of the condition or you are a male, you will also be at an increased risk. Other common increased risks for sleep apnea include a large tongue, large tonsils, a nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum or allergies and sinus problems. If you suffer from any of these risks, visit your dentist to determine if sleep apnea is occurring.
Once your dentist determines which form of sleep apnea you have, it can be properly treated. Sleeping habits including the position in which you sleep can improve your health. However, if sleep apnea continues to occur, oral appliances and other devices can be used to help open up your mouth, support your jaw and ensure that air can get through your passages. In severe instances, surgery may be needed.
For more information concerning sleep apnea, you can speak with Dr. John R. Lohner and Dr. James “Jimmer” C at Lexington Heights Dental by calling us at 801-756-2006. If you require a comprehensive oral exam or bi-annual professional cleaning, our dentist office is located in Cedar Hills, Utah.