Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Several studies have confirmed that sleep apnea can lead to episodes of teeth grinding or bruxism.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a condition where a patient unconsciously grinds or clenches their teeth. It usually occurs as an unconscious reaction to stress and is a common condition that affects 1/3 of the population. Bruxism can be severe enough to harm the patient's teeth and affect the muscles and tissues in and around their jaw. The symptoms of bruxism are worn-down teeth, sore jaw, headaches, or earaches.
Sleep bruxism is another term for the clenching or grinding of teeth during sleep. Bruxism can occur during the day, as with stress-related grinding, but most people experience sleep-related bruxism at night. Sleep bruxism can lead to the same consequences as daytime bruxism. The cause of bruxism is unknown, but family history, anxiety, and work-related stress seem to play a part. However, some individuals do experience bruxism without any apparent cause. There are various types of mouthpieces and night guards available to help reduce the damage caused by bruxism to the teeth.
Types of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by the soft tissues of the throat collapsing and blocking the airway. This blocks airflow and causes the pressure in the throat to spike, making loud snoring noises. The obstruction causes a decrease in oxygen levels and an increase in carbon dioxide.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs due to a malfunction of the central nervous system. The brain is unable to send signals to the muscles that control breathing. This is a less common form of sleep apnea, and often involves a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea. Mixed sleep apnea occurs when both problems occur at the same time.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for many patients. The appliances are custom made to fit in your mouth and to hold your jaw in a forward position. This opens the airway and allows more airflow. Oral appliances are comfortable, easy to use, portable, and easy to clean.
Hollander Dental Associates, located in Carlsbad, CA, is equipped with the best dentists and modern technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Call us at (760) 434-2526 and schedule an appointment with the dentist to know more about dental treatments.