Snoring and Sleep Apnea

When you hear the term sleep apnea, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a CPAP machine, but sleep apnea can also be caused by dental problems. Your dentist may even be the first person to suggest you have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing is interrupted repeatedly during the night. This is an airway obstruction and can last for a few seconds or even minutes. It can happen up to 30 times an hour or even more.

If your dentist sees that the tops of your teeth are worn down, this is a sign that you have bruxism (or you are grinding your teeth). Grinding can cause cavities, tooth wear and breakage, or receding gums, as well as be the first sign of sleep apnea.

The most common sign of sleep apnea is chronic snoring. You may also wake up with a dry mouth or sore throat, have morning headaches, or notice daytime drowsiness.

Oral appliance therapy could help with sleep apnea. An oral appliance is a custom-fitted device worn only while sleeping. It fits like an orthodontic retainer or a sport guard. It maintains the jaw in a forward position to help keep the airway open and prevent nighttime awakenings.

Call 503-462-1538 to make an appointment to see if oral appliance therapy would help you.