Could the key to a good nights sleep come from your dentist?

There is nothing more frustrating then having a busy and tiring day but then not being able to sleep soundly during the night when you desperately need to recharge for the next day. Having had very few uninterrupted nights in the last 6 years, I have more and more interest in the issue of sleep. Many patients do not associate sleep problems with dental problems, but actually the two can be very closely related. During a regular dental examination it is quickly apparent from the inside of a persons mouth that they grind and clench their teeth. Deep furrows in the cheek lining and the side of the tongue, flat worn surfaces on front and back teeth, chipped cusps on molars and sometimes clicking uncomfortable jaw joints. Often questions about neck pain and headaches, night time waking and daytime tiredness reveal that the effects are even more far reaching.

So why do so many people grind their teeth?

It has been shown, some medications cause grinding or bruxism as it is technically called. Obstructed airways preventing proper deep breathing is another cause, as is a tooth’s positioning so the other teeth can not fit together properly. The most common cause though is stress. The massive amount of pressure on all our time means we go to bed still buzzing with it. Many patients, once aware of the problem, even realise they are clenching and grinding whilst driving or working at their desk.

So what is the answer for all us bruxists?

As a keen grinder myself I have tried to find this out for my own sanity! The first step is diagnosis. Just knowing why you are getting those chipped teeth, headaches or neck pains can be a huge relief and save many expensive dental repairs, prescriptions and physiotherapy appointments. Let us check it is not something you need dental treatment for or referring to a sleep specialist with. There are sleep clinics in all major hospitals that can help people with airway issues. Try and relax – easier said than done, but taking some exercise after work, not working too close to bedtime and keeping offline in your bedroom can all help reduce the tension that can be expressed by bruxing.

For those who can not break the habit and have symptoms, we have a range of appliances to wear at night to help give relief from headaches and neck pain as well as snoring! Having tried these myself I have had huge relief and wear one regularly to prevent headaches, which I need painkillers for otherwise. Roy has a huge wealth of experience in this field and I have learnt a lot from him and the patients he has helped. I have joint consultations with Roy, helping to diagnose and create treatment plans for my more complex cases. We can’t take away the stresses of day to day life, but we can help make your nights sleep a little sounder!

At Roy Morris Dental Excellence, our team of professional dentists offer wide range of dental treatments to fit almost any need. Contact us today if you would like to enquire about our treatments or book an appointment with us.