It is common to see sleep apnea as a mild medical condition that involves loud snoring. While it is true that of the ten million people who have the disorder, most do not experience life-threatening symptoms, there are serious disorders linked to sleep apnea such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The facts that oral problems often cause sleep apnea and that it has a negative impact on dental health are not widely known or widely publicized.
Patients often tell Dr. Shahkarami that they had never been asked about possible sleep apnea before our staff inquired. Many patients do not know that your dentist is often the first professional to notice early signs of sleep apnea, or that there are ways our dental office can help treat your sleep apnea.
Tooth grinding, also called bruxism, is often the first sign of sleep apnea. Tooth grinding connects to sleep apnea because when you are sleeping, and you begin to grind your teeth, it signals your brain to wake up and breath. Frequent tooth grinding also wears down teeth, may crack or break teeth, and causes jaw pain and headaches.
Some other signs of possible sleep apnea, aside from loud snoring, are daytime sleepiness, waking up with a dry mouth, frequent morning headaches that may radiate from the jaw, and a sore throat that subsides throughout the day and then returns the next morning.
If you experience any of these, even if you have no signs of bruxism, sleep apnea may be the cause. Do not hesitate to bring these concerns to Dr. Shahkarami.
After you receive a diagnosis of sleep apnea, our office intervenes in two ways.
We will guide you through some simple lifestyle changes that are proven to help sleep apnea sufferer’s breath and sleep better. These changes include:
• Cessation of smoking
• Avoiding alcohol
• Decrease caffeine, especially in the evening and close to bedtime
• Increase physical activity
• Make an effort to lose weight; there is a proven link between weight loss and the reduction of sleep apnea symptoms
The second way that Dr. Shahkarami and our staff help you to treat your sleep apnea is through dental interventions. Some structural issues can cause mild to moderate sleep apnea. These include weak muscles in the back of your throat, a jaw that is too small, and a tongue that is too large. In each of these cases, our office can fit you with various dental guards to reposition your jaw and open your airway.
If you are concerned about possible sleep apnea, please feel free to call our office for a consultation.
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Tissue Graft Periodontal Surgery
18399 Ventura Blvd #251, Tarzana, CA 91356
Phone: (818) 345-5286
Fax: (818) 975-5083
Monday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM