Not many people are aware that dentists handle much more than just your teeth these days. In fact, your dentist could actually help you get a better night’s sleep. Dr. Neil S. Stearns is a practitioner of dental sleep medicine, which is an area of dentistry that uses oral appliances to treat conditions such as bruxism, snoring, and sleep apnea.
If any of these conditions are preventing you from getting a full night’s sleep or is affecting the quality of sleep you get, we encourage you to read on and find out how we can help.
Bruxism refers to the practice of teeth grinding and jaw clenching that happens in some patients when they sleep. This is actually a pretty common problem, with statistics showing that 8 – 31% of the general population has it. Some of the symptoms associated with bruxism include:
Dr. Stearns can help patients with bruxism by providing them with a dental guard. A dental guard is a piece of plastic that has been molded to perfectly fit your teeth. By wearing a dental guard when you go to bed, you can prevent your teeth from being damaged by teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This plastic is smooth and light, meaning that it won’t feel uncomfortable, nor will it aggravate your mouth.
Snoring is another common problem that we treat here at our office. Snoring refers to the sound your mouth produces when the soft tissue in the upper airway vibrates when you breathe. While this condition is more prominent in men, it can also show up in women. In particular, snoring often appears in women who are pregnant or going through menopause.
For patients who are experiencing intense snoring, we can provide a mandibular advancement splint. This is a piece molded from a soft, clear plastic that is used to advance the lower jaw to the point where your tongue will be pulled forward. This treatment has proven effective in reducing snoring, as well as alleviating mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea.
Statistics show that nearly 25 million people in the United States are suffering from some form of sleep apnea. This condition occurs when your muscles relax as you sleep, causing soft tissues to collapse which results in them blocking the airway. This causes pauses in your breathing, enough of which will wake you up suddenly. Just like with snoring, sleep apnea is more common in men, but can occur in women who are pregnant or going through menopause.
It is important that you treat your sleep apnea, as it can increase your chances of developing conditions such as:
Here at our Englewood, NJ office, we treat sleep apnea patients through oral appliances. The most common oral appliance we use for patients who are suffering from sleep apnea-like symptoms is a type of night guard that works to keep your airway open and unobstructed. These are also best for patients where CPAP therapy is not an option.
Do you currently reside in the Englewood, NJ area and are suffering from one of the conditions mentioned above? Then we advise you to seek out the care you need here at Neil S. Stearns D.M.D. If you would like to learn more about our dental sleep medicine treatments, contact our office today and schedule your no-obligation consultation.