Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) prevents you from obtaining a good night’s rest, and can impact your overall health. Bruxism is a disorder that causes you to grind your teeth frequently enough to damage them. They may seem unrelated, but often there is a direct link between them, which your Houston, TX, dentist will discuss in today’s blog.
First, let’s talk about sleep apnea. OSA means that as you rest at night, your breathing is cut off by the collapse of soft tissues in the back of your mouth and in your throat. This causes you to stop breathing for a few seconds until the brain wakes you, interrupting your sleep cycle even if you don’t remember this happening. Over time, this leads to exhaustion and irritability, impacting your daily life. Eventually, this could even strain your immune system and your cardiovascular health too, which could mean serious trouble down the road. Warning signs include snoring, waking up suddenly choking or gasping for air, headaches, dry mouth, and daytime drowsiness.
Bruxism is a disorder in which you regularly grind and clench your teeth as you sleep. This places enormous pressure on your teeth, wearing down the outer structure and even cracking or chipping them. This changes the esthetics of your smile, but also increases the risk of tooth decay and infection, causing pain and threatening the stability of your smile. Warning signs include headaches, jaw pain, toothaches, and facial pain.
You know how we mentioned OSA causes you to stop breathing for brief periods at night? Well, this could happen hundreds of times a night for some sufferers, and as your body struggles to breathe, this could cause you to begin grinding or clenching your teeth. This in turn strains the muscles at the back of the throat, restricting airways further. You’re now caught in a feedback loop, one that leaves you exhausted, damages your teeth, and threatens your overall heart health!
But with a custom-made oral appliance, one you wear at night, you can fight both disorders. The oral appliance repositions the jaw to keep airways open, so you breathe without interruption. In turn, this helps ease the tension behind your bruxism, and prevents you from grinding your teeth as much. The appliance also acts as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to prevent further damage as your body adjusts and you gradually stop grinding your teeth.
If you have any questions about oral appliance therapy, then contact our team today to learn more.
Contact Our Team for More Information
We want to help you rest easier and avoid potential damage to your teeth. Contact SleepWell Houston in Houston, TX by calling 713-796-9600 to learn more about our custom treatment options and to schedule your next appointment today.