It’s estimated that as many as 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. If you wake up feeling tired and groggy, it could be related to your oral health. Leading general dentists Susan Mazzei, DDS, and Kelsey Esposito, DMD specialize in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea for patients throughout Warrenville, Illinois. Before going one more restless night, schedule an evaluation at West Suburban Oral Healthcare. You can book your appointment either online or over the phone.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder where your breathing suddenly stops and starts.

With sleep apnea, you’re likely to tense your jaw and grind your teeth at night. As you tense up your teeth, your brain gets a signal to wake up and take a breath, which ultimately disrupts your night of sleep.

There are several different causes of sleep apnea, although they all result in disrupted sleep.

With obstructive sleep apnea, for instance, your throat muscles relax, resulting in collapsed airways. This can happen if you’re overweight since your airways can’t support the extra pressure as you lie down.

In some cases, your brain doesn’t send proper signals to control breathing. This is known as central sleep apnea.

Some patients have both issues – collapsed airways and signal issues – which is called complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Will I know if I have sleep apnea?

Possibly. Most men and women who have sleep apnea experience similar symptoms. You might have sleep apnea if you:

  • Wake up feeling tired and groggy
  • Snore throughout the night
  • Have frequent morning headaches
  • Experience difficulty concentrating
  • Have difficulty staying asleep
  • Are irritable or have mood swings

It’s common for patients to have no recollection of snoring or waking up frequently, but their partner’s night of sleep is often disrupted.

How does a dentist treat sleep apnea?

General dentists are often the first medical professionals to recognize and diagnose sleep apnea. Not only does your dentist notice the signs of grinding, but they’re also going to ask you about related symptoms, like sore jaws.

Both Dr. Mazzei and Dr. Esposito can help resolve sleep apnea issues by offering custom mouth guards (medically known as occlusal guards).

These mouth guards prevent nighttime grinding, so your brain doesn’t get the signal to wake up and breathe. Mouthguards can also help keep your lower jaw forward to help open up your airways.

If you think you have sleep apnea or haven’t found a successful solution after a diagnosis, book an evaluation at West Suburban Oral Healthcare either online, or over the phone.