How Can A Dentist Help with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

How Can A Dentist Help with Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

How can a dentist help with obstructive sleep apnea and teeth grinding? Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is when the tongue relaxes and slides backward during sleep, blocking or obstructing airway passages.  This results in snoring and waking up gasping for air.  It also prevents the lungs, brain, heart and other organs from receiving life sustaining oxygen.  Untreated OSA can increase your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, acid reflux, diabetes and has been linked to teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism.

Teeth grinding, affects millions of people and normally occurs while you sleep.  This makes it difficult to diagnose. 

Do you ever wake up with a sore jaw, headache, tender teeth or stiff neck? 

The National Sleep Foundation has found that approximately 25 percent of people with OSA also show signs of sleep Bruxism.

Similar results were found in studies using polysomnography, a type of in-depth sleep study completed in specially designed clinics. The clinics closely monitor the subjects as opposed to other studies that depend on surveys of self-noted sleep apnea or teeth grinding subjects.

So, how does your dentist fit into the picture?

Specially trained dental professionals, like Dr. Abeyta, can be a valuable asset in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.  Once diagnosed, a dentist can help you understand the disorder and treatment options.

A dentist can check the patient’s mouth, teeth, and jaw to determine whether they are a good fit for a mandibular advancement device.

A comprehensive dentist can recommend life changes such as diet and exercise to help improve the quality of sleep and the patience overall health. 

A dentist can work closely with their patients to make sure their oral appliance is working and improving their condition.  Patients who are regularly monitored have proven to get the best results.

If you are experiencing bruxism symptoms or are struggling to sleep soundly at night, don’t wait to schedule an appointment for yourself or a family member.  The team at Dr. Abeyta’s office will sit down with you and discuss the best plan to get you on the right track to a healthy mouth and body. Call today to make your appointment 505-293-7611.

Nose & Mouth Breathing – The Difference Matters

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Are you breathing correctly?

Most people don’t spend much time thinking about the way they breathe. Since it’s not something we need to be taught, we typically take it for granted. However, there is a right and a wrong way to breathe, and doing it wrong comes at a high cost. Mouth breathing does have a place, but a habit of doing it at the wrong time can be very destructive. When people get into the habit of mouth breathing during their sleep, for example, it causes numerous issues.

Nose vs. mouth

Human infants are what’s known as obligate nose breathers. This term is a bit nebulous. You would think it describes a creature that can only breathe through its nose. There are true obligate nose breathers, like horses, that can only breathe through their noses — if a horse is breathing through its mouth it means there are serious issues in the soft tissues of its airway. Other species, like humans and dogs, can choose whether to breathe through their nose or mouth. When we say an infant is an obligate nose breather, what we mean is that it will always try to breathe through its nose first, and will only switch to mouth breathing when the nasal passages are obstructed. It is also normal to mouth breathe during exercise, when it allows more oxygen to make it to your muscles.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2385″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_shadow_3d”][vc_column_text]

What’s so great about nose breathing?

It may come as a surprise, but you actually absorb oxygen from the air during the exhale. When you exhale through your nose, it creates a back pressure that facilitates better oxygen absorption. Since breathing through the mouth is less efficient, mouth breathers have to take more breaths to get the oxygen the need — in some cases twice as many. This rapid, open mouthed breathing leads to dryness of the mouth and throat, acidifies saliva and erodes the enamel of the teeth, and contributes to gingivitis. In children, mouth breathing can lead to developmental issues in the mouth. To learn more about the effects of mouth breathing, check out our page on sleep apnea and airway issues.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]