What do sleeping patterns have to do with your smile? Is sleep apnea something you need to discuss with your dentist? Interestingly, there is a significant connection between your breathing difficulties while sleeping and the future of your teeth.
The Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can lead to heart problems, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, or even just headaches. Another common side-effect is bruxism. Bruxism is the habit, conscious or unconscious, of grinding and clenching the teeth. This habit often occurs at night during sleep and can be a result of stress. Your brain gets a little panicky from the lack of oxygen, so it signals your jaw to move more to open up the airways. This motion could be putting extra pressure on your teeth.
Bruxism can be deadly to your teeth because it causes unnatural stressors to be placed on them. This tension causes premature wear and increases your chances of tooth fracture. The pressure can also damage crowns and fracture fillings, resulting in early failure. The tension can strain the TMJ, so sleep apnea could also lead to jaw pain and disorders of the joint.
Protect Your Teeth From Stress
If your teeth are suffering from the effects of chronic grinding and clenching, then a protective oral appliance is the best. A specially fitted mouthguard can be fabricated to protect your teeth and dental work. This mouthguard is worn only at night (while you are sleeping) when apnea and bruxism occur. Or, an oral sleep apnea appliance can protect your teeth as well as enhance the flow of air while you rest. This in turn reduces the clenching and grinding.
If you are currently dealing with sleep apnea, then you certainly don’t want to add dental concerns on top of that. Talk to your dentist about the best options for protecting your smile if your teeth are at risk from the effects of sleep apnea.
Posted on behalf of:
Pleasant Plains Dental
5850 W Hwy 74 #135
Indian Trail, NC 28079
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