General dentist Larry P. Evola gets into sleep issues in terms of how the teeth and the jaw relate to the rest of the body, to posture and how having the proper bite can affect a patient’s overall well-being, reports The Buffalo News.
Q. How is sleep apnea connected to dentistry? How can a dentist help diagnose and treat it?
There are certain questions you can ask. You can look into a patient’s oral cavity. If there’s large tonsil tissue that you can see or there’s a restriction of their airway based on visual inspection, that would be a tip-off. There’s also some correlation with patients who are a little bit heavier, with a big neck. There’s a huge overlap with patients who have TMJ problems and sleep apnea. They’re both disorders of cranialfacial anatomy.
A lot of sleep breathing disorder stuff happens when they’re younger. If a child becomes more of a mouth breather and doesn’t breathe through their nose, that sets off certain physiologic and metabolic changes in the way their face develops and the way their teeth come in. That creates some of the airway restrictions and consequently we see those patients down the road with pink in their head and neck area. A lot of times we see those folks after they see the ear, nose and throat doctor, the neurologist for headaches and unexplained pain.