If you experience a lack of energy, or feel exhausted after you have had a full night sleep, you may have bruxism, chronic clenching of the jaw or grinding the teeth. Another sign to watch for is if you have sore jaw muscles and/or sensitive teeth.
Something called OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is a condition closely connected to bruxism, as well as many other health problems. You’ve probably heard of it before because it affects many people these days. Sleep apnea happens because breathing is interrupted at night when lax neck muscles block your airway. One out of every four people who have this condition also grind their teeth at night, and it affects more men than women.
Thankfully, it is possible to completely abolish teeth grinding when sleep apnea is managed or eliminated. Other healthy changes to your lifestyle such as weight-loss and controlling allergies can also help. Another thing you can do is wear an oral appliance at night to keep from grinding, gnashing and clenching.
A forced air breathing machine known as CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure machine) can be used if your sleep apnea is severe. This device uses a mask and pressurized air to keep the airway passages open. This prevents the problem outright, including the eradication of snoring, which often accompanies the disorder. Research has confirmed that when a person with both sleep apnea and bruxism use a CPAP, both conditions are improved or end entirely.
If you are worried about your pattern of sleep, feel exhausted all the time, or have neck or jaw pain, come and see Drs. Toenjes, Brizzee and Orme for an evaluation. Please contact us to make an appointment at: 208-624-3757, or come by our office in St. Anthony, Idaho.