Though a common condition adversely affecting the lives of many, sleep apnea remains undiagnosed in a large number of individuals. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing patterns are continuously interrupted while sleeping, leading to inadequate oxygen reaching the brain and other vital tissues. Often recognized initially by snoring and shortness of breath during the night, sleep apnea leaves its sufferers tired, irritable and at risk of serious health conditions due to lack of quality sleep and oxygen deprivation.

Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms Impacting Your Quality of Life?

Beyond snoring and breathing difficulties, sleep apnea symptoms encompass a number of secondary effects caused by the disorder. The following sleep apnea symptoms may be affecting your quality of life and inducing other health-related concerns:

  • Headaches: Chronic, migraine or morning headaches may result from an insufficient amount of oxygen reaching the brain, or nighttime teeth grinding associated with sleep apnea.
  • Teeth Grinding: Sleep apnea places a great amount of stress on the body, often leading to the habit of grinding the teeth together while sleeping.
  • Jaw Alignment: The position of the lower jaw plays a critical role in the onset of sleep apnea. If the jaw has a tendency to retract towards the back of the mouth, soft tissue may block the airway and cause breathing interruption.
  • Bruxism: Habitual, excessive teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism) and sleep apnea may exhibit a cyclical relationship, in that either can lead to the presence of each and promote the persistence of the other.
  • TMJ: Damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can affect the positioning of the lower jaw while sleeping, potentially allowing it to fall back towards the head. This posterior position of the jaw and placement of soft tissues may block proper airflow, thus leading to sleep apnea.

The sleep apnea symptoms mentioned here along with a number of others impinge on oral health and overall comfort, causing chronic, debilitating conditions in some individuals. Any symptoms of sleep apnea deserve prompt attention to achieve a proper diagnosis and ward off harmful secondary effects.

Who Can Diagnose and Treat Sleep Apnea?

Though sleep specialists typically diagnose sleep apnea, these professionals along with qualified dentists alike are equipped to treat the condition. Whether sleep apnea symptoms are only starting to affect your life or you have been suffering with the condition for some time, immediate diagnosis and treatment are recommended, as some effects of the sleep disorder can cause serious damage to systemic health. Contact your dentist today for more information on sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.

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