What Are the Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea?

Dr Perlman and his patient reviewing information

It’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. We see a lot of patients with problems that may possibly be caused by this common affliction. The cessation of breathing during sleep is directly linked to jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and may even lead to cracked or broken teeth. Our Elevate Smile Design team wants to help you identify if this is something you or a loved one experiences while sleeping.

3 Types

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the throat muscles relax during sleep, causing a narrowed pathway for air to move in and out. This is the most common form.
  2. Central sleep apnea, though less common, is more dangerous. This occurs when the brain stops sending messages to your muscles to breathe, causing breath cessation.
  3. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of the two aforementioned versions.

Risk Factors

Some factors may lead to a greater risk of developing sleep apnea, including if a person is:

  • Male
  • Overweight or obese
  • Over the age of 40
  • A smoker
  • A chronic drinker
  • Related to people who have sleep apnea
  • Prone to mouth breathing due to nasal congestion, allergies &/or a deviated septum
  • Afflicted by large tonsils

Common Signs & Symptoms

Sleep apnea can affect your dental health in the form of teeth grinding or jaw pain. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Frequent waking up at night
  • An excessively dry mouth upon waking
  • Recurring headaches
  • Being told by a partner that you snore, snort, or stop breathing while asleep
  • Daytime sleepiness, drowsiness & fatigue

A Custom Oral Appliance May Help

It’s important to seek treatment for sleep apnea so that it won’t lead to further complications. Chronic lack of oxygen to your vital organs can negatively affect your heart health and blood pressure, and it can increase your chances of complications after surgery. Let us know if you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms listed above. We may be able to help you with a personalized oral appliance!

Dr. Perlman has received specialized sleep therapy training & is here to help!

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