Can the Dentist Help you Sleep Better?
Are you having problems with your sleep? There’s a chance that your problems could be resolved or at least identified by your dentist. Rest easy and find out how the dentist can pinpoint your frustrations and cure your sleepless nights!
Dentists primarily look at teeth, but what you don’t notice is that they’re assessing how your mouth, neck and jaw are functioning together. The assessment of these areas can tell the story of your quality of sleep.
For example: Worn down enamel is a sign that you experience stress and grind your teeth during sleep. The shape of your jaw signifies how well you breathe during sleep, and your risk for sleep apnea.
When you speak to your dentist, tell them how you’re sleeping. Note down how you can respond to these questions:
Do you experience insomnia?
Do you wake up with dry mouth or sore throat?
Do you feel groggy most days (despite believing you’re sleeping the recommended 8 hours per night)?
The answers to these questions will alert your dentist to any signs of sleep breathing problems. If you’ve identified any of these problems — read on for some treatment options!
Those who grind or clench their teeth most likely experience teeth grinding in their sleep. Anxiety and stress is a common cause for teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth can result in tensed muscles, a sore jaw and headaches throughout the day.
When teeth grinding is left untreated it can damage tooth enamel and lead to worn down teeth, sensitivity, and susceptibility to fracturing teeth. Treatment consists of a custom fitted mouthguard that, over time, can reduce the habit of teeth grinding, and prevent further wear on your teeth .
Sleep apnea relates to shallow or paused breathing during sleep. First-degree sleep apnea typically involves 5-30 seconds of paused breathing, but more serious cases can disrupt breathing for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Common symptoms include fatigue, chronic influx and heart stroke.
What not many people know is that many dentists are trained to manage and treat sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea who don’t or can’t use common sleep apnea treatments like a CPAP machine may find relief from consulting their dentist.
Alternative sleep apnea treatments include:
Tongue restraining appliances
Dentists can provide portable and subtle sleep apnea relief with mandibular and tongue restraining appliances. Many patients have found the alternative treatments to be more comfortable than CPAP machines.
The snore guard is mainly used as an alternative to the other two treatments, but it is also a comfortable solution. The snore guard prevents the tongue from blocking the airway. The portable and clean design is a comfortable alternative, resembling the athletic mouthguard in appearance and feel.
It’s important if you suffer insomnia and sleeping issues that you consult your dentist. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. A dentist can help you sleep better, and improve your overall health.