As most people know, sleep is a crucial function of the human body which is vital to staying healthy and helping us to function properly.
It is not uncommon for patients to be unaware that they even have a dental related sleep issue until they visit their dentist for a regular check-up or for help with a side effect of the problem that they didn’t know they had.
At Sharrow Dental Orthodontist Chelmsford, our skilled clinicians explain why you could be losing out on vital hours or having sleep that is poor quality due to underlying issues that can damage your teeth and mouth.
Teeth grinding is often involuntary and is extremely common to occur at night time when patients are completely unaware that they are doing anything. The repeated action of grinding the teeth together can lead to worn down teeth and an uneven bite as well as other issues.
The technical term for teeth grinding at night is sleep Bruxism and not only can it have a negative impact on your oral health, but the resulting issues can affect your overall health and wellbeing. Orthodontists are experts at spotting the effects of teeth grinding and treating both the damage and the cause itself.
Whilst as much as 80% of teeth grinding occurs at night-time, the subsequent side effects are often present during the day, such as;
Headaches (mainly in the morning)
Broken or cracked fillings and teeth
Pain in and around the eyes or sinuses
Pain when eating or speaking
Trouble opening the mouth
Poor quality of sleep
Treatment to help prevent and resolve the issue of grinding teeth at night can vary depending on the individual patient and their unique dental case. Some of the things that can be used to help include a retainer, splint or mouthguard at night, clear aligners or braces for bite correction and mandibular advancement devices (MAD).
Although a lot of people are unaware that this is even an issue, breathing through your mouth when you sleep instead of your nose can cause a whole host of problems for your oral health. When your mouth is closed during sleep, the teeth are coated in saliva which helps to wash away potentially harmful bacteria, but when you sleep with your mouth open it dries out and can cause;
Inflamed / bleeding gums
Periodontal disease such as cavities and gingivitis
Bad breath (halitosis)
Throat and ear infections
Chronic fatigue / sleep difficulties
Waking up tired and irritable
For those that are mouth breathing due to non-dental related obstructions such as enlarged tonsils or a deviated septum, surgery can help to improve and resolve the issue.
Patients who do not have a physical reason for breathing through their mouths at night should speak to their dentist about mandibular anterior positioning devices which can help to convert patients from mouth to nasal breathers. They work by supporting swallow function and moving the tongue into its correct position which creates a stable airway and encourages easy sleeping with the mouth closed.
Snoring and Sleep Apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a condition when someone has difficulty breathing or the airway blocks during sleep which can be very dangerous. It has been linked to depression, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, memory issues, tiredness and strain on the heart.
Snoring is a casual term for a problem that is vastly underestimated and many people aren’t even aware they suffer from it as it happens whilst they sleep. It is caused by the soft tissues at the back of the throat partially blocking the airway and causing the vibrations and noises that everybody associates with snoring. Obstructive sleep apnoea occurs when the tissues completely block the airway and is a serious disease that causes breathing issues and waking during sleep.
For patients that are having issues as a result of their snoring it is important to seek help to ascertain what can be done to resolve the problem and alleviate the unwanted side effects. Dentists will be able to provide advice and help to relieve some of the unwelcome symptoms that have occurred as a result.
In severe cases it will be advised to seek help from a specialist who can diagnose the condition and suggest the best path of treatment.
Don’t Lose Anymore Sleep
At Sharrow Dental our expert clinicians have experience in helping patients who experience issues that affect their ability to sleep at night or who suffer from dental issues as a result of underlying sleep related problems. We provide innovative dental solutions to sleep problems and can fully assess the overall function and health of your mouth to establish whether there are any signs that you might have issues with how you sleep at night.
Our experts will talk you through their findings and provide advice and guidance on what to do next to help resolve the issue so that you can enjoy peaceful, quality sleep every night. Get in touch today to speak to one of our helpful team and book a consultation with one of skilled dentists.