Bruxism refers to a condition characterized by chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching. As experts in diagnosing and treating airway-related conditions, VIA Health Group in Canton, Ohio, is in the best possible position to provide lasting relief from pain and other symptoms associated with this common problem. We relieve symptoms of bruxism for good because our craniofacial sleep medicine-trained dentist, Dr. Jeff Danner, accurately diagnoses and resolves the root of the problem.
Bruxism can be associated with many other airway problems we treat at our practice. For instance, patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDBs) like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may also suffer from bruxism. OSA is defined by lapses in breathing. Tissues in the throat relax so much that they block the airway. When air can’t pass through the airway, patients stop breathing. This process can occur dozens of times each hour throughout the night.
In the act of self-preservation, the sufferer reawakens, often snorting, gasping, or choking as the blocked airway is opened. Teeth grinding occurs as a response to the pauses in breathing as the body moves the lower jaw around to find a good position to get the tongue out of the airway since the tongue is attached to the lower jaw and is the “obstruction” in obstructive sleep apnea. All of this is done to stop what is similar to being choked while being awake.
Bruxism, as a primary condition, is destructive. It can cause considerable damage to the tooth structure and dental restorations. Additionally, patients with persistent, untreated bruxism may experience chronic headaches, migraines, and other Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMDs) symptoms. Any time the jaw joints and their connected tissues are stressed, TMD-related symptoms can arise.
These symptoms also include:
Bruxism, secondary to OSA, is accompanied by a host of additional problems. In addition to the potential stress placed on the jaw joints, OSA stresses the internal organs. Chronic oxygen deprivation can damage the heart, kidneys, and other parts of the body far from the oral cavity. Furthermore, individuals with untreated sleep apnea also have a lower quality of life. No matter how long they are in bed, they never feel rested. They may be at increased risk of hurting themselves on the job or falling asleep while driving and injuring themselves (and others) on the road.
We exclusively approach health problems and concerns through the lens of airway health. Since there are so many linkages between various conditions and symptoms, it is essential first to apply our advanced 3-D imaging and other diagnostic tools to identify the cause of any problems or concerns that may have led you to our office in the first place. From there, we may recommend the Vivos® Method. We have a dental solution for the medical problem of obstructive sleep apnea.
At other offices with limited treatment options, a “standard” occlusal guard may be the go-to treatment to protect the teeth from damage caused by bruxism, but it can actually make sleep disordered breathing worse. These appliances only cushion the blow from the force of teeth grinding and don’t treat the underlying problem.
With the Vivos® Method, we actually resolve apnea that may be responsible for bruxism, TMD symptoms, and other problems. The Vivos® appliances are uniquely designed to alter the problematic anatomy responsible for disordered breathing during sleep. When prescribed and overseen by our sleep medicine specialist, they can effectively expand and reshape the mouth – resolving the underlying condition and truly treating OSA and its related conditions for good!