Bruxism, snoring and sleep appliances

Do you have a snoring habit?  Do you grind your teeth at night?  Are you waking up every morning with severe headaches and jaw pain?   Then there is a solution to your problems. We as dentists are able to make sleep appliances ranging from nightguards to sleep apnea appliances that can literally solve your sleep problems. 

Bruxism is known as grinding or clenching of teeth during one's sleep.  Snoring occurs for a variety of reasons when the muscles of the airway become relaxed and the soft palate vibrates and creates noise. Sleep disturbances such as snoring and teeth grinding can cause a person to wake up several times at night and lose sleep as a result of these habits. Teeth grinding can also cause TMJ jaw soreness and pain as well as headaches.  The general dentist can make you a simple appliance such as a dental nightguard to be worn only while sleeping to correct the problem and relieve your impaired sleep. 

Sleep apnea on the other hand is a severe condition where the person has several episodes of suspension of breathing while sleeping because of a lack of oxygen entering the airway.  This happens because the persons anatomical structures such as the tongue and soft palate become obstructed during sleep and the airway is compromised.  Factors for this problem occuring are obesity, enlarged tongue,a thick neck in males, a narrowed airway or anatomical anomalies.  Sleep apnea by itself cannot be treated by the dentist and requires a sleep doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. A device such as the CPAP machine must be worn at night to relieve severe sleep apnea.  However if you have a mild to moderate case of sleep apnea the general dentist can make you a dental appliance to be worn at night that will open the airway thus correcting the partial airway impairment and improving your sleep.

Studies have shown that the quality of sleep is important to one's overall health.  Not only that but your sleep appliance may be saving you from a more serious and morbid condition.  Be sure to talk with your physician about these sleep conditons and take care of your health and your life as soon as possible. Remember also that you will be helping your bed partner too!



Dr. Nabila Mannan

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