Teeth Grinding, Snoring & Sleep Apnea
When you wake up in the morning, do you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world? Or do you want to close your eyes, roll over, and sleep for several more hours? Do you wake up with a headache or with pain in your jaw? Do you find yourself dozing off periodically during the day?
The kind of sleep you get at night has a serious impact on your waking hours. You might not even realize that these symptoms can be the signs of conditions that occur while you are sleeping – or that a dentist can help.
If you wake up with a sore jaw, you might be grinding your teeth while you sleep. This condition, known as bruxism, can do real damage to your teeth. Dr. Haeussner treats many patients who grind their teeth at night, and many don’t even realize it until he points out the signs. These include:
- Unusual erosion on the chewing surface of your teeth
- Abractions, or small notches on your teeth near the gumline
- Cracks, chips, and fractures
- Small injuries to the insides of your cheeks
While some people grind their teeth during the day, night grinding is quite common as well. Stress often leads to grinding and clenching, but bruxism can also be caused by a misaligned bite.
Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Have you ever been told that you snore? Snoring is a common condition, and most of the time it's harmless, although it can certainly be frustrating to anyone who sleeps next to you! If you snore loudly enough, you might wake yourself up, and you might also wake up with a sore throat.
One of the biggest concerns that comes along with snoring is that it can often be a symptom of a serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, you stop sleeping for short periods throughout the night. These periods can last from a few seconds to a minute or more. Your body, sensing oxygen deprivation, forces itself awake, you gasp, and then fall back to sleep. You probably don’t even realize this is happening; you just know that you feel incredibly tired throughout the day.
In addition to feeling constantly fatigued, sleep apnea has other consequences for your health, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attacks
The drowsiness caused by sleep apnea also puts you at a higher risk for being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a sleep specialist at a sleep center. If you suspect sleep apnea, please call your primary care provider and ask for a referral.
Appliances for Teeth Grinding and Snoring
Teeth grinding and snoring can be treated with appliances that you wear in your mouth while you sleep.
Appliances for teeth grinding can function one of two ways. They may hold your back teeth apart while you sleep so that they physically can’t grind, or they may be made of a durable material that absorbs the pressure from grinding.
Appliances for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea keep the teeth apart so that the throat remains open and they also prevent the tongue from falling back and blocking your airway. By changing the shape of your airway, the air can flow more smoothly and the tissue in your throat doesn't vibrate, which is what causes the noise of snoring.
Call for an Evaluation
If you suspect that you grind your teeth or snore, please call our office to schedule your evaluation with St. Augustine dentist Dr. T. Daniel Haeussner. He will review your concerns and determine whether you might benefit from appliance therapy.