Sleep apnea is a serious sleep condition that causes patients to snore loudly and stop breathing multiples times a night as a result of tissues in the back of the mouth over relaxing. When this occurs, it blocks the airway and prevents an individual from taking smooth and uninterrupted breaths.
In fact, someone with sleep apnea may stop breathing anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. People who have this serious condition are usually unaware since it occurs during sleeping hours.
You may be wondering how sleep apnea and dentistry are connected. While snoring is the number one symptom, other side effects include dental sensitivity, tooth decay, and worn and cracked teeth.
Although Dr. Novick cannot diagnose sleep apnea, he can identify the oral health side effects and may recommend that you visit a sleep specialist. He can also provide customized oral appliances designed to keep the lower jaw stabilized so the airway remains open and clear for proper oxygen flow and easy breathing.
Many patients find that these oral appliances are more comfortable and more convenient than a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Some of the more common signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Cessations of breathing
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Extreme daytime exhaustion
- Difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and depression
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching
- Damaged molars
Are You at Risk of Sleep Apnea?
You may be at risk of sleep apnea if you have a family history of sleep apnea or are male and over the age of 50. Other risk factors include:
- Large or excessive throat tissues
- Short and enlarged neck
- Acid reflux
- Sinus issues
- Misaligned bite
Treating Sleep Apnea
If you have a mild to moderate case of obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Novick will provide you with a customized oral appliance. To do so requires that impressions be taken and sent to a local dental lab. Once the device is completed, he will check that it fits properly and show you how to use it.
When molars have been damaged as a result of teeth grinding or jaw clenching, he may recommend dental crowns to repair and strengthen teeth. Your sleep apnea appliance should be worn consistently anytime you are sleeping. After a few weeks of wear, you will start to notice improved sleep and a better qualify of life.
Contact our Franklin Square, NY office today online or by calling (516) 481-1446 if you have received a sleep apnea diagnosis. Dr. Novick can customize an oral appliance that will allow you to get a good night’s sleep.