Did you know that dentists discover sleep apnea in their patients many times before a patient’s primary care physician makes the diagnosis? This is because your dentist may notice problems with your teeth like tooth wear and facial muscular pain. If your dentist discovers that you have bruxism (grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw), you’ll probably be referred back to your primary care physician to look into the possibility that you might have sleep apnea as well because these two disorders tend to be affiliated with one another.
Because bruxism is an involuntary physical movement of the jaw during sleep, it is classified as a sleep-related disorder as much as a dental issue. Grinding and clenching may happen at any time of the day or night, but typically they occur during nighttime sleeping hours. This fact makes bruxism hard to recognize. Some factors that help 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.
The first thing you will need to do if sleep apnea is suspected is a sleep test. There is a take-home sleep apnea test that you take overnight, or you may be asked to attend a sleep clinic where you will be monitored to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
If you are worried about your pattern of sleep, feel exhausted all the time, or have neck or jaw pain, come and see Dr. Michael P. Gaudio for an evaluation. Please contact our team to make an appointment at: 203-265-3355, or come by our office in Wallingford, Connecticut.