Although you might think that we only use our mouths to chew food and talk, keep in mind that we also use it to breathe. A qualified dentist can inspect your mouth to determine if you suffer from breathing conditions such as sleep apnea. Let’s learn how your dentist can help you resolve your sleep apnea issues.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that is characterized by irregular breathing patterns, particularly when one’s breathing stops and starts throughout the night. There are two primary types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central sleep apnea. The former, obstructive, which is most common, results from the throat’s soft tissue collapsing during sleep, which ultimately blocks airflow. Central sleep apnea is a neurological issue in which the brain simply fails to tell the body to breathe.
How Are Sleep Apnea and Oral Health Linked?
Dentists are often the first to notice that patients likely suffer from sleep apnea. This is because the issue is commonly associated with teeth grinding, or bruxism, which leaves distinct patterns on the tongue and teeth. Since sleep apnea often makes patients snore, the condition usually leads to red, sore-looking throats in patients.
How Can Dentists Stop Sleep Apnea?
Nightguards can sometimes help to alleviate sleep apnea, though they can also make the condition worse. The idea behind using nightguards is that they force the jaw open further than it normally would be, resulting in patients being better able to breathe. Another type of tool is the mouthpiece that retains the tongue. These tongue-retaining mouthpieces, as they’re called, are a remedy of sleep apnea dentistry in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, which helps by keeping the tongue from falling down into the airway and blocking it.
Brian Homann, DDS, P.C is an experienced dentist helping patients deal with sleep apnea. For more information, visit their website to learn more about sleep apnea dentistry in the Elk Grove Village, Illinois, area.