Many of you reading this page may not be familiar with the role of oral sleep appliances – it may actually seem strange to consider going to sleep with something fitted onto your teeth if you’ve never done it before, but oral sleep appliances can be very helpful tools for a number of reasons.
Possibly the most common reason to use an oral sleep appliance is if you experience tooth grinding or clenching during sleep – this is called Sleep Bruxism and it is a very common occurrence. The primary purpose of having teeth is to use them to chew our food – but every time the teeth touch each other they wear down just a little bit – so you can imagine that if your teeth are touching any time when you’re not eating, you are experiencing accelerated wear of your teeth. If this is allowed to continue, you can expect to see the teeth becoming shorter and shorter over time, until eventually they are so weak that they break. Some people will experience more rapid wear of the teeth depending on how active the bruxism habit is, their diet (particularly sugars and food acids), as well as their general health (diabetic, dehydrated, digestion problems etc) – all of these things should be taken into consideration whenever you see a dentist.
At Ellen Stirling Dental, we can help with the assessment, diagnosis, and management of Sleep Bruxism which can often include the use of a fully custom-made Occlusal Splint which is a type of Oral Sleep Appliance. This type of treatment is not applicable to everybody, but when you visit our practice you will be examined for the risk factors and if it is likely to provide improvement to your quality of life, it can be a very wise treatment choice.
Other Oral Sleep Appliances can also be considered to assist in the management of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – this is again something we assess for and we are proud to work with your medical General Practitioner so that you receive expert care for all aspects of your sleep health.