Services are performed by a general dentist.
Sleep apnea has been linked with other health concerns, including high blood pressure, heart disease, memory problems, and daytime drowsiness.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which the patient experiences shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can occur several times during the sleep period.
Because sleep apnea can impact other areas of your life, it's important to take any symptoms seriously. Often, your doctor will recommend a sleep study to help confirm sleep apnea. Common symptoms of sleep apnea can include:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by the relaxation of soft tissue in the airway. This can be caused by obesity, as well as structural issues in the skull or face. Nasal congestion and alcohol consumption can also contribute to OSA.
Complications from sleep apnea can include inattentiveness at work, tiredness, risk of accidents, mood swings, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. Sleep apnea can also increase the risk of congestive heart failure and stroke. It can lead to difficulty in the treatment processes for conditions such as arterial fibrillation.
Snoring is a common condition; however, most people don't realize that snoring can be an indication of a serious health hazard. Obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that is potentially dangerous and can be life threatening, is often associated with hypertension, headaches, and even strokes. Your general dentist can custom fit you with a dental appliance that will help control the snoring. This small plastic device fits in the mouth and is worn at night to prevent the collapse of throat tissues and eliminate the cause of the snoring.
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a neuromuscular disorder that can damage and loosen the teeth. The severity of teeth grinding varies with the individual. Children usually outgrow the condition. Stress and abnormally aligned teeth are common causes of teeth grinding and treatment should focus on these factors.
Night guards constructed of high-grade plastic offer and effective means of treating teeth grinding. Worn at night, they serve to prevent the upper teeth from grinding against the lower teeth. Although ready-made night guards are offered for sale at many stores, a custom-fitted night guard prepared by your general dentist will provide a better fit.
When you wake up in the morning, do you experience pain in your jaw joint or difficulty opening or closing your mouth? Are your teeth overly sensitive? Do you often experience headaches? These could be clear signs of teeth grinding or bruxing. Without treatment bruxism can cause damage to your jaw joint, your teeth and existing dental work.
The exact cause of teeth grinding is still unknown, but there are some factors that are associated with this problem, including:
There is currently no cure for bruxing, but the damage it causes can be controlled with the use of a night guard, a plastic cover that fits over your teeth to deflect the hard forces of chewing. Use of a night guard will also increase the longevity of your dental work.
During the first visit your general dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This impression is then sent to a dental laboratory where a custom-fit night guard is created to fit the contours of your mouth.
On your second visit your general dentist will show you how to place the nigh guard into your mouth and will adjust it to your bite. Night guards are available in soft materials as well as harder plastic materials. Your dentist will recommend which material is best suited for your needs.