Snoring is a common sleep habit and may not be something you would consider mentioning to your dentist. However, snoring can be the sign of an underlying sleep disorder, which can be related to your oral health and treated by a trained and experienced dentist.
Washington, D.C. dentist Andrew Cobb is a leading dentist for the advanced treatment of complex concerns. He will conduct an orofacial pain and bite analysis to determine the fit of your bite and the musculoskeletal structure of the mouth and jaw. Recognized on an international level as a Senior Faculty Member in the Dawson Academy, Dr. Cobb works with patients on an individual basis to identify and address dental and oral health related concerns, including sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea affects a growing number of Americans every year and puts them at an increased risk for stroke, heart attack and a range of cardiovascular and systemic health issues. Dr. Cobb looks for the common signs of a sleep disorder during routine dental exams and encourages patients to discuss lifestyle habits and other health concerns that can be treated through effective dentistry. As a Dawson trained dentist, Dr. Cobb evaluates the entire occlusal system, including the function of the jaw joints and fit of the bite.
Patients who have symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), commonly known as TMJ, should be evaluated for sleep apnea. When the bite is not functioning properly and the jaw joints are not aligned, this increases the risk of a blocked airway during sleep, the main cause of sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea.
SLEEP APNEA WHAT TO EXPECT
During your visit to our Washington, D.C. area dentist office, Dr. Cobb will look for common oral signs of a sleep related disorder, which can include jaw tension and other signs of TMJ and teeth grinding. He will take the time to discuss your personal health concerns and any habits that may indicate that you may suffer from sleep apnea. There are certain risk factors that can greatly increase your risk for sleep apnea:
- Large neck circumference
- Overweight, obese
- High blood pressure
- TMJ related disorder
Sleep apnea can cause a variety of symptoms and many patients are unaware that they have a sleep disorder until they meet with Dr. Cobb and begin to discuss their overall health and quality of life. Sleep apnea can cause:
- Snoring, often loud or sudden
- Feeling sleepy or groggy during the day
- Dry mouth, especially upon waking
- Moodiness, irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
Many of the above related symptoms can be indicators of other conditions or concerns. Dr. Cobb will work with you to diagnose your symptoms with a sleep study and recommend the most appropriate treatment to help you restore your health and quality of life.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR OSA
Sleep apnea is commonly treated with the use of the CPAP. While this is considered the gold standard of treatment and necessary for patients with more severe cases, the cumbersome and uncomfortable device often has reduced compliance. For mild to moderate cases, Dr. Cobb can provide a custom sleep appliance which will fit like a sports mouthguard and serve to reposition the jaw to prevent a blocked airway.
Oral appliance therapy can be more convenient, discreet, portable and comfortable, leading to better compliance- and faster results. Patients can speak and consume fluids while the appliance is in place and can take it along on travel with ease. Regular use as prescribed is the key to reducing symptoms and risks associated with sleep apnea.