If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are most likely aware of the different consequences it can have on your overall health. Not only does sleep apnea put you at a higher risk for heart conditions, but it actually affects your teeth. Dr. Andrea Stevens can help treat your sleep apnea and save your teeth from future problems with oral appliance therapy. Discover how sleep apnea is bad for your teeth and what you can do about it.
Bruxism and Sleep Apnea
One of the conditions associated with sleep apnea is bruxism. Bruxism is a condition where you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep and is more common in people who have sleep apnea. The first signs of bruxism include jaw pain, sensitive teeth, and the appearance of worn-down teeth. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist will easily notice with a dental exam. Over time, it’s common for bruxism to lead to cracked or damaged teeth which will require dental crowns or other restorations to fix.
TMJ and Sleep Apnea
Another common dental problem associated with sleep apnea is TMJ. TMJ usually causes severe jaw pain, clicking or popping in the jaw and frequent migraines. If you notice any pain when you open or close your jaw, you might have TMJ. TMJ is common in those who have sleep apnea because when the throat relaxes at night during apnea episodes, the jaw naturally clamps down to prevent airway blockage. This places excess stress on the mouth, neck, shoulders, and jaw and may cause TMJ. Sleep apnea is not only bad for your teeth but also for your jaw.
Cavities and Sleep Apnea
Another common dental problem associated with sleep apnea is more cavities. One of the reasons people tend to have more cavities when they have sleep apnea is because they regularly breathe through their mouths. When you breathe through your mouth, it can dry out your mouth which prevents your mouth from washing away bacteria in a timely matter. The less saliva you produce, the more enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth decay you will experience.
How Sleep Apnea Treatment Helps
Treating your sleep apnea is the best way to defeat these different dental problems. Dr. Andrea Stevens can provide you with an oral appliance to prevent you from having apnea episodes throughout the night. The oral appliance repositions your jaw so that there is no obstruction in the airway. It also protects your teeth from grinding and clenching throughout the night. Once you treat your sleep apnea, TMJ pain caused by clenching down during apnea episodes should alleviate within weeks. You will also breathe with your mouth shut at night, allowing saliva to do its job.
If you suffer from sleep apnea and would like to defend yourself against related dental problems, Dr. Andrea Stevens is here to help. Contact our dental office in Kanata, ON to schedule an appointment for a sleep apnea treatment consultation by calling 613.271.7091 or filling out our contact form.