Are Sleep Patterns Affecting Your Dental Health?

Sleep apnea

Have you ever heard that there could be a relationship between your dental problems and your sleep patterns? Research has established that a large number of people who suffer from jaw tension, teeth clenching or grinding are actually experiencing a side effects of sleep apnea and snoring. Continual unconscious grinding of your teeth and clenching of your jaw can have major effects on your teeth! Patients have reported TMJ type symptoms after long-term undiagnosed teeth grinding.  Let’s take a closer look:

Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is literally when you stop breathing for a few seconds while you are sleeping. The incidence of sleep apnea increases with added weight or obesity, or when there is an obstruction at the base of the tongue. When the tongue and the base of the lower jaw are too near each other, then you have the obstruction of the air passage beyond. However, when the lower jaw is moved forward, then space is created and the air passage is released to perform its function. The process can dramatically reduce snoring as well as sleep apnea.

There are dental devices used to keep the mandibular away from the air passages. Said devices are known as Mandibular Advancement Splints. These tend to be the most popular tools recommended by dentists to correct the underlying cause of sleep apnea. There is no one size or design of these splints that will fit patients across the board. You will need to see an experienced dentist to have your specific jaw measured and fitted for a custom device. If you are experiencing jaw pain or are suffering from a tight jaw or experiencing sleep apnea, be sure to discuss it immediately with your dentist. Don’t just let this go or try to “tough it out” or else you could wind up with much more complex problems!

Clenching & Grinding Teeth 

This condition, also known as bruxism, is known to have a wide variety of causes. It is prevalent in people who have stress issues but can also be related to sleep apnea. Keep in mind that treating apnea issues does not necessarily mean that your bruxism will automatically disappear, but it is a place to start.

If you notice you are a victim of bruxism, do not let the issue go unattended because the condition has far reaching effects on your teeth and dental health in general. Make an appointment with your dentist and discuss it thoroughly with them. Most dentists will approach the problem by giving you an oral appliance to keep your teeth protected from clenching and grinding during sleep.

When the pain and discomfort is extreme, some dentists will administer Botox, which helps relax the muscles of the jaw during sleep. At times you are also advised to carry out specific exercises to handle muscle tension.

Take Action 

Sleep apnea, jaw tension, teeth clinching and grinding are all very treatable conditions. See your dentist as soon as possible and set up a plan of action. Your dentist will assess your situation, then create a treatment plan so you can obtain relief from these uncomfortable dental issues!

Dr. Halina Montano is a highly respected dentist in the Boca Raton area who would be happy to help you with these issues! Dr. Montano will not only help you correct your problems but can also repair any damage to your teeth and help them look as good as new! Call Dr. Montano today at 561-232-2070 and schedule your appointment. You’ll be glad you did!