The common sleep disorder called sleep apnea is discovered many times by your dentist before your doctor. This is because a dental disorder closely related to sleep apnea is bruxism, the damaging habit of grinding teeth or clenching the jaw. The may be wear on your teeth, wounds in your mouth, muscular soreness in your face or neck, and other telltale signs that alert your dentist to bruxism, and then they may suggest that you get an appointment at a sleep clinic for testing.
Classified as both a sleep disorder and dental issue, bruxism is an involuntary physical movement of the jaw during sleep. Although, grinding and clenching can happen at any time of the day or night, usually it is more common during nighttime hours. This fact makes bruxism hard to immediately discover. Some factors that help to spot potential bruxism are sensitive teeth, feeling soreness in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and/or face, and being prone to headaches—especially in the morning.
Taking a sleep test is one of the first things you should do to determine whether or not sleep apnea is a serious problem. Your doctor will be able to request this for you from a local clinic where you can be monitored in your sleep, or a take-home test may be available for you to use overnight.
If you are worried about your pattern of sleep, feel exhausted all the time, or have neck or jaw pain, come and see our dentists for an evaluation. Please contact B. SABA DMD, PC to make an appointment at: (508) 668-1531, or come by our office in Walpole, Massachusetts.