Dentists are known for everything having to do with teeth. So, what does a dentist have to do with a sleep disorder?
Sleep apnea comes in two forms. The most common form is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your windpipe is blocked while sleeping. The blockage can be from your uvula, tonsils, tongue, throat tissue, or even by the muscles in your throat.
A more rare form of sleep apnea is caused by a disruption of your central nervous system – the signals from your brain that control your breathing don't reach the appropriate places.
Regardless of which type of sleep apnea you have, what happens is that you stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds, several times a night while you sleep. This causes you to wake up – which disrupts your sleep, and prevents you from getting the quality deep sleep your body needs to function at its best.
While you cannot die directly from sleep apnea, it can cause heart disease and strokes. Your doctor can diagnose sleep apnea and refer you for treatment. There are dental devices available for treatment, which help you to breathe easier, that realign your jaw in a more forward position.