Night Guards and Sleep Apnea Appliances
Do you clench your teeth? Do you grind your teeth? Or maybe you don’t even know.
Grinding (called Brusism) and clenching your teeth is known as a parafunctional habit that is considered connected to stress.
If you clench and grind your teeth, your dentist will know. How? Clenching and/or grinding can severely wear or even break teeth. This can also lead to problems with the gums and jaw. Grinding of teeth usually takes place during sleep, when you may not notice you are doing it. Clenching may occur at any time, maybe even now. Flattened out areas on the chewing surfaces of your teeth is often the initial indicator of a parafunctional habit.
A night guard is a safe and easy way to help with parafunctional habits. Night guards can also help patients that suffer from headaches, earaches, TMJ, face, neck and shoulder pain and/or tension. Dr. Aver uses thermoplastic nylon bite guards.
Sleep Apnea Appliances
Obstructive Sleep Apena (OSA) is a disruptive and potentially dangerous sleep disorder characterized by brief pauses in breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances (also known as dental devices) for patients with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances are known to improve sleep for patients by improving airflow, and reducing apnea and snoring. The two sleep apnea appliances available are mandibular advancement device and tongue retraining device.
The mandibular advancement device is the most widely used for sleep apnea. Resembling a sports mouth guard, it forces the lower jaw forward and down slightly to keep the airway open.
The tongue retraining device is a splint that holds the tongue in place, keeping the airway open as much as possible.
Patients of Dr. Aver who wear oral appliances are strongly encouraged to maintain follow-up and routine check-ups to make sure the device is working, and to address the need for adjustments and replacement when needed.