Sleep Apnea/Snoring/Teeth Grinding
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while asleep. This can prevent your brain from receiving enough oxygen and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also cause excessive snoring and leave you feeling groggy the next day.
Some people with sleep apnea use a CPAP (constant positive air pressure) machine, which keeps your airways open while you sleep. However, if you only have mild sleep apnea, a custom-made mouthguard can provide a similar effect.
Instead of covering your teeth, a mouthguard for sleep apnea works by pushing your lower jaw and tongue forward, this allows the airway to open. Some types have a strap that goes around your head and chin to re-adjust your lower jaw.
For sleep apnea, using an over-the-counter stock boil-and-bite mouthguard is not an effective solution
If snoring without sleep apnea is a concern, a snore guard can help to reduce snoring, which happens due to vibrations of soft tissue in your upper airway. The snore guard appears similar to the mouthguard for sleep apnea. Both types work by pulling your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open.
If your snoring is interfering with your daily life, talk to Dr. LaMarche about an evaluation for snore guard options.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth grinding and clenching are part of a condition called bruxism, which is a sleep-related movement disorder that can cause a variety of problems, such as tooth pain, jaw pain, gum recession and sore gums. It can also damage your teeth.
Wearing a mouthguard while your sleep can help keep your top and bottom teeth separated so they don’t damage each other from the pressure of grinding or clenching. The greatest wear and damage to our teeth occur with teeth rubbing over teeth.
A custom-fitted mouthguard is the long-term solution for bruxism. Stock mouth guards are hard to keep in place and uncomfortable, which can make it difficult to sleep. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are soft and do not allow for the jaws to slide during sleep. Instead they “lock” the teeth and create a rocking motion within the jaw bones. This creates pressure on the jaw bone that results in bone loss around the teeth.