It’s common for people to have light sleep problems. Issues like occasional snoring aren’t necessarily serious issues, but people who suffer from significantly disrupted sleep caused by sleep apnea, or loud, frequent snoring are at-risk for other issues beyond a bad night of rest.
Sleep problems impact the health of your teeth in ways that you might not imagine.
Flattening of Dental Enamel
Patients with sleep apnea, and those with sleep disordered breathing, are often teeth grinders as well. Grinding your teeth at night puts a tremendous amount of pressure on dental enamel – much more than you would experience with regular oral function. Bruxism, the formal name for habitual teeth grinding, can more or less destroy teeth by flattening dental enamel. Moreover, all of this pressure on teeth and joints can create upper-body muscle aches, ringing in your ears, and frequent headaches.
For children whose jaw alignment and teeth are developing and changing, severe snoring can be a sign of airway obstruction that causes orthodontic problems. Young patients who struggle to breathe while sleeping often pull their jaws forward, unknowingly, to attempt to open relieve blockage of airways. This involuntary jaw movement throws off alignment and creates wear on front teeth. Treatment with orthodontic appliances, like metal braces, or night-time oral appliance, can help properly align the jaw and prevent further malocclusion (poor bite alignment) by preventing airway obstruction and involuntary forward jaw movement.
Added Cost for Dental Care
Without preventive measures, sleep disorders can require the restoration of worn-down teeth, which puts an added expense on routine dental visits. The best way to care for your teeth, if you have a sleep disorder, is to prevent disrupted sleep patterns from damaging your teeth in the first place. While night guards to protect teeth are an added cost as well, it’s a far more economical solution, compared to restoring several teeth with dental crowns, or other prosthetics.
The dentists at Diamond Dental believe that dentistry is an important part of healthcare and your overall health. If you have a sleep disorder, or experience disrupted breathing during sleep, it’s important to seek help from your health care team, including your dentist! Prevention in sleep disorders is key to save the health of your smile, and promote healthier sleep for greater well-being. Contact Diamond Dental to learn more about the services we provide for sleep apnea patients and teeth-grinders.