It is not uncommon for Jupiter TMJ Dentists to be the first to identify the signs of sleep apnea. A good night’s sleep is essential for rest and mental clarity. About 18 million people in the US experience the symptoms of sleep apnea and are at risk of various health problems and even death. Obstructive sleep apnea is particularly dangerous as a person with this condition may stop breathing for about 10 seconds or longer in their sleep.
Snoring is one of the main indicators of sleep apnea. However, most of the other symptoms are not as obvious. A TMJ dentist or a regular dentist can identify the less noticeable symptoms of sleep apnea by getting the patient to communicate and with an exam. Most patients with sleep apnea tend to report headaches in the morning, lethargy and dry mouth (caused by breathing through an open mouth while asleep). Aside from the identification of the problem, dentists also provide treatments for sleep apnea.
The treatments for sleep apnea depend on how severe the condition is. If someone has mild sleep apnea, they may not need to do much other than changing the position in which they sleep, quitting smoking, losing weight and wearing a special dental appliance while they sleep. The dental appliance resembles an athletic mouthguard and functions by repositioning the tongue and jaw to improve airflow. These devices are easy to wear and often include a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) system, a component that delivers air and constantly applies pressure to keep the airway open.
Since problems with the jaw have a link with sleep apnea, TMJ dentists are specially trained to treat the condition. Sleep apnea can actually go unnoticed for years until it becomes a serious problem. Those who are obtaining treatments for jaw problems or are complaining about jaw related discomforts may also be tested for sleep apnea by their dentists.