What are Sleep Bruxism & Sleep Apnea?

Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth (brux) during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing.

The complications of bruxism include damage to the teeth, broken fillings, jaw pain, earaches, headaches, tooth sensitivity, sore gums and TMJ.

To prevent damage to the teeth while sleeping, mouth guards or oral appliances are often used to treat teeth grinding and clenching. A guard may help protect the teeth from the pressure of clenching. In addition, with stress-induced bruxism cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people change their reaction to stress and help to stop clenching during the day.

A patient who is a bruxer also may suffer from sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing can suddenly stop and start.  If your partner snores loudly and is often tired throughout the day, he or she may suffer from sleep apnea.

Many people don’t think of snoring as a sign of something potentially serious, and not everyone who has sleep apnea snores. But be sure to talk to your dentist if you experience loud snoring, especially snoring that’s punctuated by periods of silence.

Those who suffer from sleep apnea are often unaware that they have the condition unless recognized by others during sleeping hours. Although symptoms may be present for years, it often goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated leading to long-term daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

A mouthpiece, sometimes called an oral appliance, may help some people who have mild sleep apnea. Your doctor also may recommend a mouthpiece if you snore loudly but don’t have sleep apnea, according to the NIH.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the most common treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea in adults. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over your mouth and nose, or just over your nose. The machine gently blows air into your throat. The pressure from the air helps keep your airway open while you sleep, according to the NIH.

Ask us about any sleep problem that leaves you chronically fatigued, sleepy and irritable. Excessive daytime drowsiness (hypersomnia) may be due to other disorders, such as narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming daytime drowsiness.

Author
Dr. Sharde Harvey

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