Frequently while examining a patient, when we observe wear on the teeth consistent with teeth grinding or bruxism. The wear can present as flattened canines, chipped front teeth, broken or cracked molars, cracked fillings or crowns, gum recession, and grooves on the roots of the teeth. When these destructive changes are present, it has been recommended that the patient wear a specially fitted mouthguard at night to prevent further damage.
- However, in recent scientific literature, it has been noted that bruxism is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. If a patient suffers from sleep apnea, a mouthguard or bite guard is not the appropriate treatment for bruxism. The patient needs either a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask or an oral appliance that positions the lower jaw forward, resulting in an open airway.
- Consequently, we are recommending a home sleep study for our patients who have signs of grinding so that we may make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate treatment. We have invested in a home portable cardiorespiratory polygraphy (Nox T-3 device) device for our patients to take home for one night. The data we are able to upload from the device will allow us to recommend the best treatment. Either way, if the treatment is a bite guard or an appliance that advances the lower jaw, we are able to fabricate and fit such an appliance.