Hamilton Mountain Dental Group

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The Importance of Sleep Dentistry for a Healthy Night’s Sleep

posted September 25, 2023

Getting enough good quality sleep is essential for good health and well being. If you are having trouble getting the sleep you need to function in top form, it’s important to find out the source of your sleep disruption.

Unfortunately, an added complication is that not getting enough sleep can actually negatively affect how well you can sleep through future nights. Being sleep deprived surprisingly can make it even harder to get quality sleep, leaving you with even worse sleep deprivation.

If you have tried improving your basic sleep hygiene routine and not had any success, and you are still having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, you should consult a professional.

When you think of getting help from a sleep professional, you might not think of going to your dentist. However, your dentist can help you with sleep dentistry, as well as a referral to a sleep specialist. Note that sedation dentistry is sometimes called sleep dentistry as well.

Good sleep hygiene makes a big difference in getting a good night’s rest. Try to give up naps, even if you feel tired from not getting enough sleep. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours, or as much as possible, before bedtime. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight may also help. Turning off screens and devices for at least an hour before you go to bed will also help. Try to keep your room dark, quiet, and cooler. Blackout curtains and white sound machines can help you fall asleep more easily, too.

If you have tried all of these, and still have sleep problems, it’s time to ask for help.

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Types of Sleep Issues That Can Be Treated by Dentists

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where breathing stops and starts during sleep. The breathing interruptions affect how much sleep you get, and prevent you from getting the deep sleep you need. There are different types, based on the cause. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the throat muscles relaxing. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send signals to breathe. There is also complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of both. Sleep dentistry can help with obstructive apnea. 

Some symptoms include snoring, waking up gasping in the night, a dry mouth or headaches after sleeping, and trouble staying asleep. Many people with this condition find themselves constantly sleepy and irritable during the day, and have difficulties staying focused.

An oral appliance can keep the throat open to relieve mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, which many people find preferable to a CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, machine, another common treatment for sleep apnea. Surgery can also be done to remove excess tissues that block the airways.

Bruxism

If you grind your teeth, it affects how restful your sleep is.

Bruxism, or teeth grinding or clenching, that happens as you sleep affects the quality of your sleep. People who grind their teeth while sleeping are more likely to have other sleep disorders. Bruxism leads to jaw disorders, headaches, tooth damage, and other concerns, which in turn can make the bruxism worse. The grinding can be loud enough for others to hear. It can lead to TMJ, a painful jaw disorder.

Symptoms include worn tooth enamel and chipped teeth, tooth sensitivity, tired and sore jaw muscles, and headaches. The jaw may even lock and be unable to open or close fully.

An oral appliance can prevent damage to teeth and shift the position of the jaw to relieve tension and pressure for better sleep. If the grinding is caused or aggravated by an uneven bite, dental procedures to correct the teeth can help.

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Snoring

Snoring may seem innocuous, but it does impact the quality of your sleep. Your dentist can help you with a custom snore guard that adjusts your jaw and tongue to reduce or eliminate snoring, by increasing airflow. Whether it’s routine dental cleanings or specialized treatments like snoring dental treatment Hamilton, your oral health matters for a good night’s rest.

Benefits of Good Quality Sleep

Without restful sleep, you will be fatigued and drowsy throughout the day, and unable to focus or concentrate. However, it is also important for your general health. Losing sleep on a regular basis has been linked to an increased risk of oral health, mental health, and physical health problems.

You are more at risk for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes. Quality sleep is important for your immune system, helping your body protect itself from infection and disease.

Poor sleep leaves you more vulnerable to mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.

Oral health is impacted too, as bruxism damages teeth, as well as negatively impacting sleep. Snoring and sleep apnea are associated with dry mouth from mouth breathing, which leaves you more vulnerable to bacteria, tooth decay, and gum disease.

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Get Help With Your Sleep Deprivation

If you are having sleep issues, or are waking up with pain in your teeth or jaw, Hamilton Mountain Dental Group may be able to help with dental treatments for oral-related concerns.

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