Treating Sleep Disorders With Your Dentist’s Help

Root canal

Chronic pain and troublesome disorders are a burden that people would rather not have to deal with, especially when they interrupt your ability to sleep. Such disorders can come in the form of sleep apnea, the serious sleep disorder in which breathing regularly starts and stops during the night. These are serious disorders; they can negatively affect a person’s health and way of life in a variety of ways. Similarly, they might be linked to one another, with a study from the Journal of Dental Research finding that patients who dealt with obstructive sleep apnea symptoms were 73% more likely to experience TMJ. However, most people don’t know that they are (1) suffering from either of these conditions, and (2) that they are medically treatable and reversible, especially by visiting your family dentist.

When most people think of their family dentist, they think primarily of cosmetic dentistry — whiter teeth, root canals, dental crown and dental bridge implants, etc.. In reality, your family dentist can help by treating medical conditions that are being caused by your teeth, mouth, and jaw.

With 35 million Americans having been diagnosed with TMJ, it’s a rather common dysfunction. The pain that comes with it can be rather insufferable, with the jaw joint and the muscles surrounding it either becoming wrought with inflammation and/or compromised of movement. While using therapeutic treatments like stress management, relaxation, and physical therapy might work, treatment from your family dentist will provide some of the best results. One of the more common treatments provided through family dentistry is the use of a mouth-guard designed and molded specifically for your teeth. This mouth-guard will help align your jaw during sleep, restricting the ability to either grind your teeth or to overly clench the joint of your jaw. If further treatment is needed, your dentist can provide a splint, which is an installed rigid accessory that will help stabilize and protect your jaw joint, or, if serious enough, it might require cosmic dental replacement.

As of now, there are 18 million Americans that are affected by sleep apnea, with 2-4% of all Americans having an undiagnosed case of the sleep disorder. Where a physician might treat sleep apnea with the use of a CPAP or BiPap machine, your family dentist will seek other means of treatment. If you are not interested in using a face mask connected to one of the sleep apnea machines, than an oral device might be utilized. Similar to how TMJ might be treated, a specially molded mouth-guard can be constructed for you, one that will assure your tongue is pressed down and jaw is supported, otherwise ensuring that your airway is not obstructed during the night. Similarly, a mandibular device might be used, in which the tongue will similarly be pressed down, but your jaw will be pressed forward. This will further ensure that your airway is unobstructed during the night.

Sleep apnea and TMJ might be disrupting your sleep, but they don’t have to. By visiting your family dentist, you can explore a variety of treatment methods to sleep sound and wake up well-rested.

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