How a Dental Evaluation Can Help You Learn If You Have Sleep Apnea

When you visit the dentist, he or she may ask you questions about the way you sleep. This occurs because many dentists are now skilled with understanding a condition called sleep apnea. While a dentist cannot diagnose this condition, dentists do know the signs to look for. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can lead to many health problems, and your dentist may want to help you with this by performing an evaluation of your risks. Here are some of the signs a dentist will look for that can signify the presence of sleep apnea.

Signs In Your Mouth

During a sleep apnea evaluation, the dentist is likely to look at several things in your mouth to see if you might be at risk for this condition. One of these is an enlarged tongue. When a person has a tongue that is larger than normal, it can easily cause the blockage that contributes to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea prevents a person from breathing while he or she sleeps, and this is often caused by an enlarged tongue.

The dentist may also look at the size of your jawbone. A small upper jaw bone or lower jaw bone can also put a person at a higher risk for sleep apnea.

Your Medical History and Weight

Your current health status and weight can also help dentists understand when people might be at risk for developing sleep apnea. People who are overweight are more likely to have sleep apnea, simply because the extra fat in the neck region can lead to a blockage of air while sleeping. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you might also be at a higher risk.

In addition, waking up with headaches can be a sign that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. When the dentist asks you these things, it can help him or her gauge whether you may have this condition.

Whether You Snore

If the dentist believes you might have sleep apnea based on the information he or she sees from your medical history and evaluating your tongue and jaw, the dentist may ask you one final question. This final question is whether you snore or not. Most people that have sleep apnea snore, and they usually snore really loudly.

After the evaluation is complete, your dentist may recommend visiting a sleep clinic if he or she suspects you have sleep apnea. To learn more about the dental signs of sleep apnea, talk to a dentist like Jerry C Hu DDS Family Dentistry LLC.