Ohio Airway Dentist Explains The Link Between Tooth Grinding And Sleep Apnea

Bruxism or tooth grinding not only affects the health and appearance of your teeth. It can also be indicative of sleep-disordered breathing and other airway problems. At VIA Health Group in Canton, Ohio, we use 3D x-rays and further diagnostics to evaluate the condition of the jaw joints, airway, and other connected tissues and structures. Depending on what we find, a custom oral appliance may be in the future to protect teeth from damage caused by chronic teeth grinding and to open up the airway – promoting better overall health and banishing any troublesome symptoms that may be present as headaches and jaw pain.



At A Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation For Her Teenage Daughter In Canton, Ohio, A Mother Made A Startling Discovery.

Although she wasn’t even supposed to be the patient that day, it would turn out to be her life that changed forever. The cosmetic dentist happened to be Dr. Jeff Danner, a certified provider of craniofacial sleep medicine. After one look at her smile, he knew just the right questions to ask to start to uncover the connection between seemingly separate symptoms, and the potentially deadly hidden cause.

I Had A Young Teenager Who Wanted Her Smile Just Like Her Mom’s.

Both mother and daughter had attractive smiles with straight and white teeth. The daughter’s teeth had typical characteristics we expect to see in a healthy, youthful smile. She had pointy canines and her two front teeth were a little bit longer than the ones on either side, the biting edges varying in length. Her mom’s smile was different, though.

The edges of her front teeth were unnaturally straight across and it looked impossible for a dentist to have made it that way. I had a hunch about what was really going on, and it concerned me, I couldn’t let it go.

A Clear Sign That Worn Teeth Are From Clenching And Grinding Is If They Match Up Like A Puzzle.

She could put her front teeth edge to edge and it matched straight across like a drawing. It might seem normal, especially for teeth that are white and straight, people don’t notice or think much about those biting edges. Her smile was pleasing, but in another five years or so with no intervention, it’s hard to say what it would look like.

If Someone Grinds Their Teeth, They Can Lose Around A Thousandth Of A Millimeter Of Their Teeth Every Day.

That adds up. After a few years, they’re going to lose a full millimeter. Teeth don’t grow back. Eventually she would likely end up with misshapen teeth that noticeably don’t look quite as good. The biting edges will change.


She’d Most Likely Develop Sensitivity And Probably End Up Needing Crowns If We Didn’t Address The Source Of The Problem.

I didn’t want to adjust the teenagers’ teeth so that they were straight across like her mother’s, and remove perfectly healthy tooth structure. I knew I needed to talk to mom about the problem that was obvious to me so I could identify the underlying cause and help prevent her from even more problems down the road. At the same time, I didn’t want to offend anyone with any comments about the aesthetics of their smile. She was here for her daughter, after all.

I Started Asking Mom Some Questions About Her Smile And About Her Health.

I broached the subject very carefully and asked some basic screening questions.

  • Are you aware of grinding your teeth at all?
  • Is your mouth, jaw, or neck ever sore?
  • How often do you feel tired?
  • How often do you have headaches?
  • Do you wake up with headaches?
  • What do you think about your smile and the way it bites together?

She said, “Oh yeah, I have headaches all the time. I’m always tired. I kind of live on energy drinks and coffee.”


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