How to Protect Your Teeth

3 Ways Your Dentist Can Help You Sleep Better

When you think of going to the doctor for help with safer and sounder sleeping, the dentist office probably isn't the first medical professional that springs to mind. But dentists have a wide range of tools at their disposal that can treat a variety of medical problems including sleep apnea and teeth grinding, which both tend to happen the most at night.

What are some of the ways that your dentist might be able to help you sleep better?

Dental Grinding: Mouth Guard

Teeth grinding is an involuntary habit that can cause wear damage to your teeth and potentially cause a painful jaw condition. Some people experience teeth grinding during any stressful situations, but many patients only do the grinding at night while asleep. That's when the dentist can come in with a handy nighttime mouth guard.

The mouth guard looks a bit like the tray for clear braces. The guard fits down tightly over the teeth to provide a protective layer. The surfaces of the guards will rub together rather than the teeth. Your dentist might also recommend you visit a physical therapist to learn jaw relaxing techniques if the grinding is habitual and starting to cause problems with your muscles.

Sleep Apnea: Oral Appliance Therapy

Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal condition where the patient's breathing becomes erratic while sleeping. One potential treatment is oral appliance therapy, which involves the dentist making you a fitted mouth guard that will hold your airway open while you sleep. The mouth guard looks a bit different than the mouth guard for teeth grinding. The sleep apnea guard has an upper and lower piece but they are connected together at the rear of the mouth so that the shape forces your teeth apart and keeps the air free to flow back through your airway.

The oral appliance isn't right for every sleep apnea patient so it is important to discuss your treatment options with your general doctor before you make that dentist appointment.

Orthodontics: Clear Braces

Clear braces are a great way for adults to receive low-profile orthodontic treatments. How do clear braces help you sleep? You typically don't have to wear the brace trays at night in your sleep, whereas the metal braces stay in all day and night. If you are a light sleeper, the lack of compression in your mouth can make a huge difference in whether or not you can sleep soundly. Talk to a dentist from a clinic like Jerry C Hu DDS Family Dentistry LLC for more information.