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.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Give Yourself a New Smile with InvisalignⓇ

We all want a straight, show-stopping smile. So, what’s stopping you? Choosing Invisalign® can get you a step closer to that perfect smile, without the hassle of traditional braces. Read on to learn more about how we can help you.

Need a Root Canal? Here's What to Expect

Your teeth and jaw are literally linked - and when your teeth feel bad, your jaw can, too. Protecting your teeth and jaw is critical to your overall health, and root canals could be what stops you from having bigger problems later.

How Does a Dentist Use Botox?

Botox is a popular filler that’s commonly used in cosmetic procedures. It might surprise you to learn that dentists, too, use Botox in their practices. Read on to learn how we can use Botox to help you.

The Link Between Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Diabetes affects over 34 million people, and obstructive sleep apnea can go hand-in-hand with Type 2. Environmental factors and genetics play roles in each issue, but understanding the links between the two is important for your health.

Why Do I Need Deep Dental Cleaning?

You go to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning, but they tell you to come back for a deep cleaning. What’s a deep cleaning, why is it more important than a regular cleaning in your case, and what will it do for you?

Benefits of Dental X-rays

The exam your dentist gives you at each appointment can only tell them so much. Dental X-rays fill data gaps — not only about your current dental health, but what your dental future holds. They also see things the naked eye can't. Learn more here.