It’s been estimated that 18 million people in the US suffer from sleep apnea. Even more surprising though is the fact that oral health may be the cause. Generally, people who suffer from sleep apnea grind their teeth in addition to snoring. The combination of snoring and teeth grinding causes restlessness and ultimately, a real possibility for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Dr. Heinrich-Null and her team can help diagnose and treat this debilitating condition to put your life back into a healthy balance. Call or make your appointment online today. Dr. Lisa Heinrich-Null, D.D.S., is conveniently located near you in Victoria, Texas.
Snoring and sleeplessness are classic symptoms of sleep apnea during the night. Symptoms the next day include waking up with a dry mouth, sore throat, and a headache.
The repeated interruptions in breathing happen throughout the night, with pauses lasting from a few seconds to minutes, occurring 30 or more times an hour. You usually hear snorts, gasping, and choking sounds immediately afterward as the body struggles to breathe again.
You also tend to grind your teeth, creating wear and breakage in the teeth, as well as inflamed and receding gums. Damage to the teeth can create a spike in cavities, whereas damage to the gums can invite periodontal disease. Look for scalloped edges around your tongue or redness in the throat from the irritation of heavy snoring.
Part of the problem of sleep apnea is that the symptoms can be hard to notice for those who live or sleep alone — sufferers of sleep apnea often realize they have it because their partners tell them about their snoring or choking. The best way to be sure whether or not you have sleep apnea is to come in to see Dr. Heinrich-Null and her team so they can diagnose you themselves.
Pauses in breathing happen because of a combination of flaccid muscles in the back of the throat or airway obstructions from a large tongue or small jaw.
Grinding your teeth is a response from your body to pauses in your breathing. Tensing your jaw and grinding your teeth sends a message to your brain to wake up and take a breath.
Generally, Dr. Heinrich-Null asks patients who grind their teeth to wear a night guard to see if that stops the grinding. This can help with cavities, jaw pain, and even headaches. There are many sleep apnea treatment devices on the market, but the first step is to talk with Dr. Heinrich-Null and her team to diagnose and treat your particular condition.
Sleep apnea is a debilitating condition that affects you and everyone around you throughout the day. Know that Dr. Heinrich-Null and her team in Victoria, Texas, are experienced with this sleep disorder and ready to help, starting with a personal consultation that can begin with a phone call or by scheduling your visit online.