Dr. Mark Lansdell
Did you know that teeth grinding can be a sign of sleep apnea? While most people know that snoring and daytime sleepiness can be a symptom, one in four people who have sleep apnea also have sleep bruxism – that’s when you clench or grind your teeth at night.
Often your partner is the first person to complain of loud snoring or teeth grinding noises, but if you’re one of that 25%, we can see the early signs in your teeth. Small cracks, tooth erosion, unexplained loose teeth, and cracks and chips can all be signs that you grind our clench your teeth at night. When I see these signs at your routine appointment, I’ll often ask if you have tooth sensitivity, wake up with a sore neck or jaw, or even if you suffer from dry or raw lips. If you further answer yes to experiencing stress or blood pressure issues, suffer from daytime sleepiness, or have trouble sleeping or concentrating, you may have sleep apnea.
While sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by your medical doctor with the help of a sleep study, for those with mild apnea or who cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, a small oral appliance that is custom designed for you can help. Not only will it prevent the soft tissues from collapsing while you sleep and blocking your airflow, an oral appliance will protect your teeth too.
Why is this so important? Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition with side effects that include:
- high blood pressure
- heart arrhythmias
- heart disease
- heart attack
- increased risk of diabetes.
Of particular concern is that people who suffer with sleep apnea are also more likely to be involved in serious traffic accidents.
As you can see, snoring, tooth grinding, and sleep apnea are all concerns that can have some pretty serious consequences if left untreated. If you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one who is suffering from any of these symptoms, please give us a call. We’d love to help you be as healthy as you can be.