Category: Author: Roz Walker
Did you know a good look in your mouth can tell us if you’re having problems sleeping? Your tongue and teeth give us clues about how well you sleep and whether or not you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
If you’ve been accused of snoring, suffer from sleep disturbances, and wake up tired, it’s quite possible you have sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the jaw falls back, obstructing the airway, just as the brain reaches the deepest stages of sleep.
Breathing becomes harder and results in snoring as air gets forced through the partially blocked airway. Once the brain realizes breathing is a struggle, it gets out of the deepest stage of sleep. It then regains control of the jaw muscles to open the airway, keeping you breathing and alive.
This cycle can occur from five to 70 times per hour while you sleep. This means you never get to stay in the deepest stage of sleep where your body does its repair work to reverse the aging process and repair tissue damage.
Missing just one night of deep sleep puts you in a damaged state. Over time, this can result in high blood pressure, mood disorders, depression, diabetes, cancer and weight gain.
Your dentist can help solve your sleep problems
Doctors can’t usually detect sleep apnea problems during routine exams. However, a screening by your dentist may help.
Snoring is a major sign of sleep apnea. And there are also less obvious symptoms. For instance, the size of your tonsils may indicate your risk for OSA. Teeth imprints and indentations on the tongue are also possible indications.
There are various treatment options for sleep apnea. Depending on the severity, you may need to alter your sleep position, lose weight, or wear a dental appliance during sleep.
If you are experiencing problems sleeping, be sure to mention it to us during your next visit. We’ll give you a thorough exam and help you identify the best next steps to take.
As a young boy, Dr. Arnold knew he wanted to be a dentist. Dr. E.I. Scrivner, Jr. was a family friend. And, getting to know him led young Fred to fall in love with the profession. Dr. Arnold is now recognized as one of the leading cosmetic dentists in the country. He’s accredited in cosmetic dentistry, and a former Chairman of Accreditation for the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Arnold is a former member of the United States Air Force. He and his wife, Holly, live in Lexington, Kentucky where they’re raising their three daughters.