Dental Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Could you have a sleeping disorder or sleep disordered breathing? Conditions like sleep apnea often involve a host of symptoms such as:

  • Snoring
  • Frequent headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Cardiovascular disease

…but did you know that sometimes, the symptoms could be spotted during your dental exam in our Long Island office? During your checkup, we’ll evaluate a variety of oral findings and discuss possible medical conditions they could be linked back to. Here are just a few examples.

Bruxism (Teeth Clenching and Grinding)

When you’re struggling for air at night, your body naturally tenses its muscles — especially in the jaws — causing your teeth to clench tightly against one another.

Gradually, constant bruxism will cause your strong tooth enamel to wear down. Teeth will start to look flatter, with sharp edges that you can feel when you run your tongue across them.

Tooth enamel is the hardest structure in your body. In order for this extensive amount of wear to take place, the bruxism will have to be ongoing and chronic. Such warning signs shouldn’t be overlooked!

Broken Dental Fillings and Crowns

If your tooth enamel is wearing down from clenching, imagine what’s happening to all of your dental work! Porcelain crowns, white or metal fillings, and cosmetic veneers are no match for the extensive pressure of apnea-induced teeth grinding.

Have your recent smile investments been showing abnormal amounts of wear? Most of our cosmetic dentistry patients will want to sleep in a protective night guard anyway; but if you’re chewing through it or aesthetic treatments are starting to break, there’s a bigger problem at hand. If it seems like you keep having to replace your fillings and crowns, ask yourself “why?”

TMJ Disorder

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, also known as “TMD”, can start to develop because of the extensive grinding and clenching going on each night. Gradually, all of that pressure damages the internal parts of your joints and leads to symptoms such as:

  • Popping when you open and close your mouth
  • Limited range of motion, making it hard to open all of the way
  • Your jaw deviating to one side when you open/close
  • Pain or ringing in your ears
  • Constant headaches or pain extending into your neck, shoulders, and back

Other Oral Anatomy Worth Mentioning

Aside from these three sleep apnea warning signs, our Long Island dentists will also screen for things like a large neck circumference. Due to excess tissue around your neck, there may be more constriction in your airway. Inside of your mouth, all of that extra tissue can make it so that your tongue seals against your tonsils and throat to block airflow.

See Our Suffolk County Sleep Dentists

If you’re experiencing any of these dental problems, it’s time to ask yourself, “Could I have sleep apnea?” If you think you do, we can advise you on which steps to take next. Believe it or not, a custom sleep appliance can help you rest better without having to rely on bulky equipment such as a CPAP machine.

Get fast sleep apnea relief with the multi-specialty team at Sachem Dental Group.