Do you or your partner suffer from breathing difficulties during sleep such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea? You might be pleased to know that dentistry may have a solution for you. A variety of oral devices or mouthpieces are now available that will address your snoring problems. By preventing the lower jaw from dropping back during sleep, these devices can prevent the closure of your airways, which will stop you from snoring. Your dentist can fit one of these for you. Here is how the treatment works:
A custom-made mouth piece is made from impressions taken of your teeth to ensure they fit you comfortably.
Made from a hard wearing plastic, the mouthpiece is worn at night and works by holding the bottom jaw in a slightly forward position.
This position opens up your airway significantly, allowing you to breathe better and as a result sleep better too.
Better quality of sleep due to undisturbed breathing.
Improved overall health due to better quality of sleep.
Bruxism (Grinding And Clenching)
Grinding and clenching of our jaws is a common subconscious occurrence, which can cause dental and muscle pain of your head and neck. There are a number of classic signs and symptoms to keep in mind to detect whether or not you suffer from a grinding or clenching habit.
Look out for the following:
Do you find yourself grinding, clenching or squeezing your teeth together? This may not be something you notice straight away but if you do occasionally find yourself doing this, come and speak to us.
Have you been told by a partner that they can hear you grinding your teeth?
Do you wake up in the morning with tension and tenderness in your jaw and facial muscles?
Do you suffer from tension headaches and/or earaches?
Do you suffer from limited mouth opening sometimes? Does your jaw lock of click painfully when opening and closing?
Are your dental restorations repeatedly chipping or breaking?
Has a dentist ever mentioned to you that you may be grinding your teeth?
If you have noticed any of the signs and symptoms listed above, please give us a call to book a consultation with our resident specialist Prosthodontist, Dr Hiren Patel.
Hiren is readily available to provide our patients with specialist advice on the subject of grinding and clenching and is able to construct a wide variety of splints and mouthguards to help combat the problem. These splints vary from soft mouthguards, dual layered hard and soft mouthguards, hard heat cured acrylic Michigan splints as well a variety of other partial coverage splints designed to alleviate your symptoms.
Mouthguards can be bought from your local pharmacist but they are unlikely to fit as well and last as long as those made by your dentist and can also lead to unwanted tooth movements.
He is also able to advise you on simple conservative ways to help combat the issue as well as advice on other remedies such a pharmacological remedies, physiotherapy, acupuncture, acupressure, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis.
J Orofac Pain. 2010 Summer;24(3):237-54.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating intraoral orthopedic appliances for temporomandibular disorders. Fricton J et al.
Sleep Apnoea And Snoring
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.
During an episode, the lack of oxygen triggers your brain to pull you out of deep sleep – either to a lighter sleep or to wakefulness – so your airway reopens and you can breathe normally.
These repeated sleep interruptions could make you feel very tired during the day. You'll usually have no memory of your interrupted breathing, so you may be unaware you have a problem unless a partner, friend or family member notices the symptoms while you sleep.
Most people with OSA snore loudly. Their breathing may be noisy and laboured, and it is often interrupted by gasping and snorting with each episode of apnoea.
Lifestyle changes – such as losing excess weight, cutting down on alcohol and sleeping on your side
Using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device – these devices prevent your airway closing while you sleep by delivering a continuous supply of compressed air through a mask
Wearing a mandibular advancement device (MAD) – this gum shield-like device fits around your teeth, holding your jaw and tongue forward to increase the space at the back of your throat while you sleep.
Don't hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions. Our resident specialist prosthodontist Dr Hiren Patel is able to provide you with specialist advice and treatment including constructing you special devices aimed at reducing snoring and preventing sleep apnoea.
Simple devices can be bought from your local pharmacist but they are unlikely to fit as well and last as long as those made by your dentist and can also cause tenderness and pain in your facial muscles.
Laryngoscope. 2015 Jul 30. doi: 10.1002/lary.25505. [Epub ahead of print]
Effectiveness of mandibular advancement appliances in treating obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: A systematic review. Serra-Torres S et al.