Airway Screenings Are Now Part of Many Dental Exams

December 12, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — gotosleep @ 7:13 pm

An airway screening may be a new concept to some, but it is quickly becoming a standard part of your dentist’s oral exams. Along with the oral cancer screening and TMJ evaluation, the airway screening is designed to help catch a small problem before it turns into a much larger (and potentially deadly) issue.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which a patient stops breathing during sleep due to either a blockage in the airway or a neurological disorder that “forgets” to tell the lungs to breathe. Obstructions occur when the throat muscles, the tongue, tonsils, or the soft palate relax and cover the airway, preventing breathing. It’s estimated that 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, and most are undiagnosed. Sleep plays a vital role in your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Loss of sleep on a regular basis can contribute to numerous health problems, including mood swings, irritability, depression, headaches, and long-term health effects like increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, depression, and stroke. Sleep is the body’s time to unwind. It’s when our body rejuvenates, heals, and when our brain processes everything we’ve done during the day. When we are asleep, our body recovers from the stressors or daily life. If you have sleep apnea and your sleep is interrupted nightly, you may not reach the deep restorative sleep needed for your body to heal and prevent illness. General symptoms of sleep apnea may include daytime fatigue, insomnia, snoring, waking up with a gasp or startling yourself awake, waking with dry mouth, redness and other signs of irritation in your mouth and throat, and headache. If you have any of these symptoms, take our sleep survey to learn more.

Why is an Airway Screening Important?

Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know it and only seek treatment when their partner’s sleep is interrupted due to their snoring or gasping during an apneic event. Because sleep apnea ranges from mild to severe, many cases are never diagnosed, and people live their whole lives not knowing they have this severe medical condition. An airway screening gives your healthcare provider a chance to ask you questions about your sleep habits and perform a physical exam to look for symptoms of sleep apnea like redness and irritation in your mouth and throat.

The Dentist’s Role

Dental sleep medicine is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas of dentistry. Patients tend to see their dentist at least twice a year and dentists are trained in recognizing abnormalities of the head, neck, and soft tissues of the cheeks, lips, tongue, and throat. Since they already perform an oral cancer exam and TMJ evaluation on a regular basis, they are in a unique position to look for physical symptoms of sleep apnea and suggest a sleep study if a patient is at risk. Read what the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) says about treating sleep apnea and snoring with dental devices.: An airway screening is quick, painless and with some help from your dentist, may give you back the sleep you didn’t realize you were missing. At Go To Sleep Center, located in Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona, we provide a quality and convenient solution for patients who suffer from snoring and sleep apnea by offering a dental device as a CPAP alternative. Contact Us today to learn how we can help you live better & sleep better!

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