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What Causes Sleep Apnea?

June 27, 2022

If sleep apnea is interfering with your ability to get a good night’s rest, getting treatment is important. You might be surprised to learn that your dentist may play a key role in this process. Here’s a closer look at what causes sleep apnea and how specialized dental care may help.


Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

While there are several different types of sleep apnea, the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.


OSA occurs when the throat muscles relax, and the tongue and lower jaw fall back. This can block the airway, causing pauses in breathing. As a result, it may sound like a person with OSA is snoring loudly and intermittently gasping to catch their breath.


OSA Risk Factors and Jaw Treatment

Certain people may be more prone to OSA, including people who are overweight and people who are middle-age and older. Also, people with a smaller lower jaw may be more at risk. This is because the tongue is more likely to fall backward during sleep, resulting in OSA.


If the problem is jaw-related, a dentist may be able to treat sleep apnea by repositioning the lower jaw during sleep with a specialized oral appliance, or retainer. This is designed to help hold the tongue in a certain position and keep the airway open. For some people, this can provide an effective treatment that is more comfortable and less cumbersome than other therapies.


How Else Can a Dentist Help?

Here at Dental Partners of Vero Beach, we also provide fast, low-radiation scans that can provide detailed images of the airway to help better understand the anatomy and how it may impact nighttime breathing. Additionally, we can see signs in the mouth that may point to higher risks of sleep apnea. Our team is committed to helping patients live their healthiest and longest lives possible, and that includes getting help for OSA.


Why Is Treatment Important?

Daytime drowsiness can be a serious problem for people with OSA and may put them at risk of problems like falling asleep during routine activities or while driving. Additionally, there can be a number of other related health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart problems, as well as dental problems.


You may not necessarily think of your teeth in relation to OSA. However, mouth breathing that is often associated with OSA can lead to dry mouth for some people. This can create a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in problems like tooth decay and periodontal disease.


Check out the following video,


Schedule an Appointment Today

If you have concerns about sleep apnea or are experiencing symptoms like snoring and chronic tiredness we’re here to help. Dental Partners of Vero Beach can answer any questions you may have and arrange a test for sleep apnea, if needed. To schedule an appointment, call us today at (772) 569-4118.

The post What Causes Sleep Apnea? appeared first on Dental Partners of Vero Beach.

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Dental Partners of Vero Beach
3790 7th Terrace, Suite 201
Vero Beach, FL 32960
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Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

Dental Partners of Vero Beach
3790 7th Terrace, Suite 201
Vero Beach, FL 32960
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