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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mary Karvounis

Why does my dentist suspect that I have sleep apnea?

Although some individuals with sleep apnea feel tired or worn out during the day, most people with this serious condition have no idea that they have it. 

What is sleep apnea? It is a condition that causes you to stop breathing in your sleep and severely taxes your cardiovascular system.

As a dentist, I often see clues in the mouth that can mean a patient has sleep apnea. Just a few are:

  • Severe wear of front and back teeth, often showing the yellow (dentin) surface of teeth after enamel gets worn through. 

  • Acid erosion of teeth, causing little bowl-like hollowed out areas on chewing surfaces of molars.

  • Large tongue or scalloped appearance of the edges of the tongue.

  • Muscular fatigue when opening the mouth and difficulty with breathing through the nose during dental procedures.

  • Overdeveloped muscles under the chin.

These clues give me insight that you may be struggling to breath well when you sleep.

Untreated sleep apnea leads to higher incidence of heart attacks and strokes. It is important to obtain a sleep study if sleep apnea is suspected. 


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