Bruxism and Snoring
Many people are afflicted with bruxism, or teeth grinding. Some people may do this consciously during the day, but it is a larger problem at night while you are asleep. Grinding your teeth can damage enamel, wear down teeth, cause jaw pain, or irritate your gums. The noise from teeth grinding can also disturb your spouse's sleep if loud enough. If you grind your teeth you should consider a night guard. The night guard, which is very similar to a mouth guard worn by athletes, provides a barrier between your top and bottom teeth while you sleep. All night guards are custom fitted for comfort and to allow for proper breathing. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and have the night guard created by a dental lab. Night guards are very durable and can be used for up to 10 years. There are also some things that you can do to try to stop teeth grinding. You can train your jaw to be free and easy rather than clenched. Refrain from chewing gum or on other objects like pens. You should also avoid alcoholic drinks and drinks with caffeine, as these can increase the likelihood you will grind your teeth. If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth at night set up an appointment with us today.
Using oral surgery to help sleep apnea seeks to remove the excess tissue in the throat that is vibrating and blocking the upper air passages. One surgical procedure is an Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This procedure involves removing the excess tissue from the upper mouth and throat. This procedure in performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. Maxillomandibular advancement is another type of procedure used to assist with sleep apnea. This procedure involves the upper and lower part of the jaw. In this procedure, the jaw is moved forward from the rest of the facial bones. This allows more room behind the soft palate, thereby reducing the obstruction. Finally a Tracheostomy is a last ditch effort when other treatments have failed. This involves the surgeon inserting a tube in your throat so you can breathe. It is covered during the day, but opens at night while you sleep. All of the aforementioned surgeries are routine and very safe.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can amount to a number of serious health risks. As the affected individual sleeps, respiratory obstruction will occur and cause snoring and significant reduction of oxygen intake, which affects the cardiovascular system and the brain. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in symptoms that range from serious daily fatigue and depression, to heart disease and stroke.
Since obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the affected individual is unconscious, the effects need to be controlled by some form of therapy or intervention. Lifestyle changes like weight loss and minimizing intake of alcohol can help in reducing the risk and severity of sleep apnea, but typically some form of nightly sleep therapy or treatment is required.
Though it’s common, a CPAP machine can be considered intolerable, or at the very least uncomfortable, for some sleep apnea patients. As an effective alternative, the fabrication of a sleep apnea appliance under the care of a sleep apnea dentistry treatment can aid patients in curbing the risks of sleep apnea, reduce snoring and improve comfort, freedom and flexibility-- which are typically compromised with a CPAP machine.
Sleep apnea dentistry appliances are either pre-fabricated or custom fabricated to the physical attributes of each patient. Custom fabricated devices are formed from an oral impression and created in a lab, not unlike custom mouth guards used for athletic protection or for preventing the effects of bruxism. The device is made from specialized materials that are flexible, long lasting and specifically designed to prevent the physical obstruction that occurs with sleep apnea, such as the unconscious movement of the jaw or tongue.
Sleep apnea appliances are simply placed in the mouth when the patient is ready for sleep. They do not require any electricity like CPAP machines, they are far more portable and discreet, and can be easily cleaned to prevent periodontal problems.