Why Your Dentist Wants to Know About Your Nightly Sleep

You’re likely accustomed to updating your health history each time you visit the dentist for an exam or treatment. It’s important to fully disclose your medical information to your dentist because many medications and health conditions can affect your oral health. However, your dentist may also question you about lifestyle issues, such as your sleep habits. Here’s why.

An Overview of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which the breathing temporarily stops during sleep. After a few seconds of disrupted oxygen intake, the brain sends a signal to wake the sleeper up, which restarts breathing. It’s possible for a sleep apnea patient to cease breathing dozens or even hundreds of times during a night. This is problematic because the lower oxygen levels places patients at a higher risk of serious health problems. If left untreated, sleep apnea increases the risk of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver problems
  • Surgery complications

In addition, sleep apnea patients typically suffer from severe daytime fatigue.

A Look at Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Many patients don’t realize they have sleep apnea. Their partners may observe the cessation of breathing, and the snorting and gasping that may accompany it. Sleep apnea can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Loud snoring
  • Dry throat and mouth upon awakening
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration

The Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Your dentist wants to know if you have any symptoms of sleep apnea because there are treatments available that can improve your quality of sleep and lower your risk of severe complications. Dr. Carson, working with your M.D. can create a custom mouthguard that gently repositions the oral structures. This clears the airway, allowing you to breathe freely during the night.

John R. Carson, DDS has extensive training in sleep apnea treatments for his patients in the Tucson area. With our radiology services, we can easily visualize your jaws, sinuses, and airway, allowing us to accurately screen you for possible sleep apnea and aid your M.D. in diagnosing the problem. Give us a call at (520) 514-7203 to request a consult with Dr. Carson to discuss your sleep apnea symptoms.

 

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