Did you know that sleep disorders can take a major toll on your oral health? What about the fact that your oral health could be causing or worsening a sleep disorder? That’s why our dentists in Dallas, TX, are choosing to treat sleep disorders as an oral health condition, as well as a systemic condition. 

The doctors at Lakewood Dental Group, Dr. Shaun Sigurdson and Dr. Mihir Patel, have years of experience diagnosing sleep disorders and providing life-changing treatments to help patients manage the condition. As a result, our patients can finally start getting the restful sleep and superior oral health that they deserve.

What are sleep disorders?

There are many sleep disorders, including:

  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, as it affects nearly 25 million adults in America. Subsequently, it is the primary sleep disorder that our Lakewood dentists treat on a regular basis.

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which the muscles of the mouth, neck, and throat get extremely relaxed while a patient sleeps. This causes the airway to constrict and results in loud snoring and interrupted breathing. Sleep apnea can cause patients to stop breathing for several seconds (even minutes!) at a time. 

What are dental problems associated with sleep apnea?

Some of the most common dental problems caused by sleep apnea include:

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder 
  • Bruxism–or teeth grinding
  • Mouth breathing

TMJ Disorder

Many patients with sleep apnea experience persistent jaw–or temporomandibular–pain. This is usually caused by improper jaw alignment while patients are sleeping. TMJ disorder can make it difficult for patients to talk and eat normally, and it can negatively impact patients’ physical and mental health.

Bruxism

Bruxism is the unconscious grinding or clenching of teeth, usually while patients are sleeping. This condition can wear down the teeth and tooth enamel, leading to increased cavities and tooth sensitivity. Over one-third of adults have bruxism, and approximately 25% of people with bruxism also have sleep apnea. 

Mouth Breathing

Sleep apnea forces patients to breathe through their mouths because their airways are so constricted. Mouth breathing is harmful to patients’ oral health because it leads to dry mouth, which can result in increased cavities, mouth sores, and periodontal disease. In fact, over 62% of patients who have sleep apnea also have advanced periodontal disease.  

How does oral health affect sleep apnea?

Misaligned jaws and teeth can affect the way mouth, neck, and throat muscles move and rest while sleeping. Subsequently, patients with misaligned teeth and jaws frequently experience debilitating sleep apnea.

How can a dentist help me manage sleep apnea?

Dr. Sigurdson and Dr. Patel can help patients manage their sleep disorders with custom-made oral appliances, such as night guards. These appliances help move the jaw into better alignment, which keeps the airway open. Additionally, night guards can prevent some of the oral health side effects associated with sleep apnea, such as bruxism.

Not only do oral appliances protect patients’ teeth while they sleep, but they also allow our patients to get a full night of restful sleep. As a result, patients can vastly improve their systemic health and mental wellbeing.  

Schedule an Appointment to Discuss Sleep Disorders Now

Don’t let sleep disorders keep you from getting the healthy sleep and smile that you deserve. New and existing patients can schedule an appointment to talk about sleep apnea with a qualified Lakewood dentist by calling our team at (214) 827-1885 or by sending us a direct message.