Why is a Dentist screening for sleep apnea?

A common question we get is “Why is my dentist asking me about how I sleep?”

The short answer is because we care about your overall health and not just your mouth.

The long answer has a few parts.

1. Dr. Eagar first became interested in treating sleep apnea because his wife would frequently fall asleep at stoplights!  Scary, right?  She was tested for sleep apnea but her AHI score was under 5 so she was told she was fine and didn’t need treatment.  Dr. Eagar wanted to help his wife.  He researched the topic and started to attend courses on sleep apnea.

2. Dentists are in a prime position to screen for sleep apnea, in a lot of cases, patients see their dentist more regularly than their primary care doctor.

3. A dentist treats your mouth which is the opening of your airway.

If your dentist isn’t screening you, here are a few questions to ask at your next appointment.

  1.  “Do you see signs that I grind my teeth?”
  2. “Do you see signs of lingual erosion of my upper teeth?”
  3. “Do I have a scalloped tongue?”
  4. “What is my Mallampati score?”
  5. “Do I have a large tongue?”

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