It is easy to see how a dentist can help you smile and chew better, but what does a dentist have to do with your nighttime sleep? Surprisingly, your dental habits and your sleep habits can go hand in hand. The snoring, teeth grinding and sleep apnea episodes that may be occurring during the night can cause some very unwanted symptoms during the day. In fact, these sleep habits can wreak havoc on your overall health if not addressed. Fortunately, a qualified dentist can help you.
Bruxism in Bed
Bruxism refers to the grinding or clenching of teeth. This is a common oral habit that tends to occur during nighttime sleep. You may not even be aware you are grinding your teeth until your bed partner tells you of your habit. Unfortunately, the substantial amount of pressure exerted by your jaw during bruxism can cause damage to your smile. Patients who frequently grind their teeth may be subject to worn down teeth, jaw pain (or TMJ disorder), damaged dental work (fillings, crowns) and other unwanted consequences. A dentist, however, can fabricate a custom mouthguard to help protect your smile from bruxism while you sleep.
Another (and more serious) oral habit that impacts nighttime rest is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea develops when the airway relaxes and closes during sleep, which causes loud snoring and frequent pauses of breathing throughout the night. Unfortunately, these episodes can cause a patient to wake up several times during the night gasping for air. Sleep quality is greatly disturbed during untreated sleep apnea, and there are several overall health conditions that are linked to this sleep disorder.
While some patients can tolerate a CPAP machine to prevent sleep apnea episodes, others prefer to let a dentist address the issue. By using a special FDA approved oral appliance, the jaw can be positioned in a way that keeps the airway open for a healthy night’s sleep.
Trust an Expert in Dental Sleep Medicine
Are you or a loved one struggling to get the quality of sleep you need due to teeth grinding, snoring or sleep apnea? Call Alora Dentistry to learn your treatment options!