Believe it or not, it is more likely that our dentist could discover your sleep apnea than it is that your doctor will. This is because the sleep disorder is very often identified at the same time a dental disorder called bruxism is diagnosed. They are typically affiliated with each other. Bruxism is a fancy name for the damaging habit of grinding teeth or clenching the jaw. Usually occurring in the night while you sleep, bruxism can be identified by the wear and damage it can perpetrate on teeth, sore muscles of the jaw, face or neck. Once diagnosed, bruxism may cause your dentist to refer you back to your primary care physician for sleep apnea testing.
Classified as both a sleep disorder and dental issue, bruxism is an involuntary physical movement of the jaw during sleep. Although, grinding and clenching can happen at any time of the day or night, usually it is more common during nighttime hours. This fact makes bruxism hard to immediately discover. Some factors that help to spot potential bruxism are sensitive teeth, feeling soreness in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and/or face, and being prone to headaches—especially in the morning.
Taking a sleep test is one of the first things you should do to determine whether or not sleep apnea is a serious problem. Our dentist may be able to request this for you from a local clinic where you can be monitored in your sleep.
If you are worried about your pattern of sleep, feel exhausted all the time, or have neck or jaw pain, come and see Dr. Saad for an evaluation. Please contact Rhome Family Dentistry to make an appointment at: 817-636-0608, or come by our office in Rhome, Texas.