East Building 3 Oracle Boulevarde,
Broadbeach, Gold Coast 4218
People spend approximately 1/3 of their lives sleeping. Sleep allows our bodies to rest and repair. Memory and brain function, our immune system and systemic health are directly dependent on our sleep. Many of us do not sleep as long or as well as we should.
Night time grinding or clenching (bruxism), snoring and sleep apnoea all affect the quantity and quality of our sleep. Fortunately, there are a range of oral appliances (that can be made by a trained dentist) that are very effective in reducing the impact of these conditions.
Sleep Bruxism is characterised by grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep. There is increasing evidence to suggest a relationship between bruxism and sleep disordered breathing (snoring and sleep apnoea) it is possible to both snore and grind your teeth during your sleep. It is estimated that the forces that can be applied to your teeth during sleep can be 3-10x stronger than when you clench while awake.
There is no one particular cause for bruxism; numerous factors can contribute to the problem:
– Stress or anxiety
– sleep disordered breathing
– Drugs -alcohol, smoking, caffeine, illicit drugs.
Bruxism can result in:
– accelerated tooth wear that affects the appearance and function of your teeth
– Sensitivity of your teeth due to loss of enamel and excessive pressure
– Sensitivity of your teeth after fillings and crowns are placed
– increased risk of cracked tooth syndrome and broken fillings and crowns
– Headaches and facial muscle pain
– Pain and clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
– ringing in the ears
– Poor sleep.
Sleep Disordered Breathing includes snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Snoring is a sign of partial obstruction of the airway by the soft tissues such as the tongue, soft palate, uvula and tonsils. While most of us snore at some time, intensive snoring on a permanent basis significantly disrupts sleep and can be a sign of the more serious condition of OSA.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea occurs when the soft tissues completely obstruct airflow, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. When oxygen in the blood falls below a certain level your sleep is interrupted and you will arouse or wake up trying to breathe, sometimes choking or gasping for air.
Signs of OSA include:
– Daytime sleepiness
– waking during the night possibly gasping for breath or coughing
– Morning headaches
– Trouble concentrating
– Mood changes e.g. irritability, anxiety
– increased blood pressure/hypertension
– decreased sex drive
– Weight gain
– Heartburn or GORD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disorder).
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is often used as an initial screening assessment. Here is the link: https://www.sleepservices.com.au/images/stories/pdf/ess_dl.pdf
Diagnosis of OSA is made by your medical doctor based on the results of a Sleep Study. Treatment for OSA is dependent on the severity of the condition but in many cases the recommended treatment is construction of an oral appliance that helps to maintain the airway open during sleep.
The anatomy of your jaws and soft tissues and the wear patterns of your teeth can be a strong indicator for these conditions and as such, a trained dentist may be the first person to notice the signs and symptoms of bruxism and sleep disordered breathing.
Here at Oracle Dental we have Dr Jacki Obst who has a keen interest in Bruxism & Sleep Apnoea.
If you have any questions regarding this please call to organise an appointment with her. 07 55317259.