Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Away from the Grind: Treating Bruxism and Sleep Apnea for a Better Night’s Rest

Some sleep disorders share common ties. Sleep apnea and bruxism are two such conditions.

Bruxism involves the grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep.

In a Chicago Tribune article, Dr. Steven Goldman explained why this condition should be treated. Grinding or clenching of the jaw can cause facial soreness, headaches, neck pain and serious damage to the gums, bones and teeth.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates that eight percent of young to middle-aged adults have it.

This grinding can worsen with stress. Dr. Goldman said that an estimated 10 percent of patients grind their teeth so low that they must be reconstructed.

Many people with bruxism also suffer from sleep apnea. In November, this blog reported on a study that found that a quarter of sleep apnea patients have bruxism.

Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue in a person’s throat collapses during sleep. This repeated collapse prevents airflow and causes the person to awaken, increasing their health risks. Common signs of sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness and snoring.

Common signs of bruxism include a locked jaw when waking up, jaw discomfort, fatigue and pain, and damage to the teeth.

People who have sleep apnea may want to ask their dentist or physician about bruxism and vice versa.

Sleep apnea and bruxism can disrupt sleep for the people who have these conditions and for their bed partners. They can be diagnosed during an overnight sleep study.

Both sleep apnea and teeth grinding can be treated with oral appliances. Click here for a list of dentists trained in dental sleep medicine.

Read more about dental sleep medicine at the Sleep Education blog.

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Disclaimer

The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.