What’s The Role For Dentists In Managing Sleep Problems?

managing sleep problemsIf you have trouble sleeping, you may not know that your dentist can help.  Dentists actually play a big role in managing sleep problems. This is because there are a number of elements that link your mouth and teeth to your sleep.

One commonly occurring problem is Bruxism. This is the grinding of the teeth or clenching the jaw.  This sometimes occurs with people while they sleep and they don’t even know it.  It can cause pain and damage to the teeth and even change the shape of the jaws and alignment of teeth.

Dentists can also predict the risk of sleep apnea and snoring. This is why your dentist may ask you if you snore.

Dental appliances are an effective way for treating all of these issues. There are certain devices that hold the mandible forward during sleep so the airway stays open.  These devices reduce snoring and help with sleep apnea.

If you think you have bruxism or sleep apnea you should talk to your dentist. Dentists working in the area of dental sleep medicine usually have a good working relationship with local sleep physicians. Check out the article from the Huffington Post here to see videos about these issues as well.

Can Your Dentist Help You Sleep?|Huffington Post

Bruxism Caused By Social Anxiety

bruxismSome recent studies have shown that bruxism, teeth grinding, can be caused by anxiety experienced in social circumstances. Bruxism can cause tooth wear and even fractures in teeth as well as jaw pain.

Some people may be prone to biting their nails when faced with uncomfortable circumstances or in social situations that are out of their comfort zones. It is now found that many people suffer from teeth grinding in these same situations.  The research studied men and women who had suffered from social phobia.  Some were on medications to help with these disorders. Some were not.  And some did not suffer from social phobia.  The subjects underwent psychiatric and dental exams.

See the outcome of the research here: Nail biters, beware: Teeth grinding is next – Medical News Today.

Social Anxiety Increases Risk Of Teeth Grinding

social anxietyIf you find that you are anxious in social situations, you may also like to know that it could be the reason behind why you grind your teeth. People with social anxiety disorder feel extreme discomfort and fear around others.

Bruxism, the habit of grinding and clenching teeth, may be linked to antidepressants prescribed to people who suffer from social anxiety. Read about this research from Tel Aviv university here: Social Anxiety Increases Risk Of Teeth Grinding, Possibly Leading To Fractures.

Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorderIf you suffer from frequent headaches or ear, jaw or neck pain, you may have TMJ disorder.  This is a condition that often goes undiagnosed. Besides the pain you feel, some other symptoms may be a crackle or pop in that jaw as you move it. If any part of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the muscles, tissues or bones become dislocated or inflamed, the disorder can result.

TMJ disorder can be caused from chronic grinding of the teeth.  It may also be caused by trauma to the jaw or even whiplash. You can do a simple self diagnosis by using this test:

While opening your jaw slightly, place a finger over the joint in front of your ear, and then open wide until you can feel the joint move.  If you feel the joint click or if it hurts when you press, you may have TMJ disorder.

You may be able to find some relief from this disorder by avoiding chewing gum and even using a nighttime bite guard to minimize clenching and grinding.  If you think you may suffer from this disorder, be sure to talk with your dentist.

Do You Have TMJ? Take The Home Test|Oprah

Causes Of A Toothache

A toothache can make your life miserable.  It can be the pain around the tooth, inside the tooth or along the nerves that drives you crazy. When you have a toothache, you may not be able to think about anything else.  But it may help to know what kinds of things can cause this misery.

Many things can cause a toothache such as dietary habits, trauma to the mouth or just bad oral health.  Tooth decay can cause damage and pain. This is the most common reason for a toothache.  When bacteria sit on the tooth, it eats away at the enamel and if left untreated will form a cavity.  If the cavity does not get treated it may cause tooth sensitivity and pain.  It may also turn into an abscessed tooth, one that has an infection.toothache

A fracture on the tooth can also cause quite a bit of pain.  The pain that comes with a tooth fracture can be intense and may occur during the act of biting.  There is a high probability that you will be in pain until the tooth is repaired or replaced, especially if the nerves are exposed.

If a filling in your tooth comes out or is damaged this may also cause a toothache.  This is because if the filling gets knocked out of a tooth that has had the decay drilled out, the nerves will then be exposed and cause pain and discomfort.

Teeth grinding can also be a cause of tooth pain.  The wearing down of the teeth can lead to exposure of the tooth and lead to discomfort and pain.  If you think that you may be grinding your teeth, check with your dentist about a mouth guard you can wear.

What Are The Potential Causes Of A Toothache|Your Dental Health Resource