Dental Health and Sleep Apnea: What's the Link?

If you have any problems with your sleep, you might have a condition called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, which causes breathing problems while you are sleeping, can lead to dangerous complications when not treated.

You might not think of a breathing disorder as having a link to dentistry, but there’s often a strong connection between your oral health and sleep apnea. At Comfort Dental Spa in Farmington Hills, Michigan, our team of dentists offers several dental solutions to ease your sleep apnea.

Understand the link between your dental health and sleep apnea and the dentistry treatments available.

Understanding sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to briefly stop breathing while you sleep. When these pauses occur, you briefly wake up — often too quickly for you to remember it — to take a breath before you go back to sleep.

You can have as many as 30 sleep apnea episodes every hour, leading to a significantly disrupted night’s sleep. Without treatment, sleep apnea can cause serious long-term problems, like hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes.

The most common type of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when the tissues in your throat and tongue prevent air from entering your airway. Symptoms of this type of sleep apnea include snoring, insomnia, and feeling tired during the day.

The connection between dental health and sleep apnea

Our dentists regularly diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea. The following are some of the surprising links between dental visits, your dental health, and sleep apnea:

Your dentist might be the first person to diagnose your sleep apnea

Since you visit Comfort Dental Spa twice a year for preventative dental exams and cleanings, there’s a good chance you come to the dentist more often than you see your general doctor. Therefore, it’s often our dentists who initially make your sleep apnea diagnosis and recommend treatment.

Sleep apnea can cause problems with your oral health

Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea can be spotted at a routine dental examination, and our dentists notice them before a primary care doctor. These oral health symptoms associated with sleep apnea:

Some dental conditions can co-occur with sleep apnea

If you have certain dental health conditions, that can be a signal for our team that you might have untreated sleep apnea. Oral conditions that commonly co-occur with sleep apnea include:

Dental treatment for sleep apnea

If our dentists determine you have sleep apnea, they can treat you with a customized sleep apnea appliance. That ensures your airway remains open during sleep. Sometimes our team also recommends making lifestyle changes or surgery to reposition your jaw.

Our dentists offer several sleep apnea appliances, including the Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP)® 3, OASYS Oral/Nasal Airway System™, Klearway™ appliance, and Herbst telescopic appliance. Our team recommends an appliance for you as part of your customized treatment plan.


If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, our dentists can treat your symptoms and help you rest well again. To make an appointment at Comfort Dental Spa, book online or call us.

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