Forum · Could my night guard be causing apnea?

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[-] DiligentPurpleCattle4560 +0 points · about 2 months ago

Greetings,

For the pasts six months or so I've noticed I've been waking up throughout the night gasping. It use to happen once a week or so but now it's all night long. Six months ago I was updated to a thicker nightguard for my teeth clenching/grinding. I have a tiny mouth and it takes up a lot of my mouth. I'm wondering if that's the cause of my problem. I don't recall ever snoring or gasping before then. When I wake up I have tightness in my chest and feel lightheaded. I also have headaches.

My history. I'm 33 years old, healthy weight, non-smoker, non-drinker, exerciser, and a side sleeper. I have history of asthma, allergies, and severe insomnia. I've had a sleep study 10 years ago as a roommate told me I stop breathing at night. However, my sleep study result came back normal. It just said I grind my teeth.

I have an appointment to see a specialist about this issue. But he can't see me for three weeks. I'm worried about what can happen within the next three weeks. I hear sleep apnea can cause a stroke or heart attack.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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[-] SleepDent +0 points · about 2 months ago

Hi! I am a dentist working in dental sleep medicine. First of all, a sleep test that was negative ten years ago is no longer relevant. A lot can change in ten years, as patients tend to put on more weight over time, your muscles in your breathing passages tend to get saggier and less supportive, and you get different health problems. Your sleep consultation is long over-due. It would be doubtful if your night guard is causing all of your problems, in and of itself, but it could be making them worse. The typical flat plane night guard tends to make your lower jaw move a little backward in your head and that could make your airway close up more. To keep your airway open, it is actually better to bring the lower jaw forward. This opens your airway. This is what oral sleep apnea appliances do. What you can do to help your breathing temporarily is to use Breathe Right strips to keep your nose more open and to use nasal spray, either saline, or OTC nose drops, if they do not interfere with your medications or medical conditions. As far as we know, only moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea patients are at risk for stroke or heart attack. This means that, to the best of our current knowledge, you would have to get up over 20 breathing interruptions per hour to be at risk. Arthur B. Luisi, Jr., D.M.D.

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[-] DiligentPurpleCattle4560 +0 points · about 2 months ago

Thank you.

I never realized I needed a follow up sleep study since I had no issues but grinding/clenching with my first one. I just purchased a thin over the counter night guard that rests on bottom teeth to see if that makes a difference. I will look into breathe right strips as well.

Do I speak with my dentist about the sleep apnea oral appliance? I didn't see one I can use at the store as a temp fix until my visit with the specialist.

For the record I am looking into finding out why exactly I grind/clench. My teeth don't even line up when my mouth is closed. Only two teeth touch in the way back. I was referred to an adult orthodonist to look into braces next.

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[-] SleepDent +0 points · about 2 months ago

The first logical stop, I think, is a board certified sleep physician to see of your symptoms are related to obstructive sleep apnea. They can also do a basic medical work-up and deal with some of your symptoms. From your laundry list of symptoms, I think that you are going to need input from several specialties, ENT, perhaps allergists, to name a few. If you do have sleep related breathing problems, your sleep doctor will discuss various treatment options. An oral appliance will be one of them. I wouldn't automatically go to your general family dentist for that. Dental sleep medicine is a specialty area and your dentist may or may not have adequate training in that area. Your best bet is to find a sleep dentist with expertise in both oral appliances and TMJ/jaw grinding issues. You really need to be diagnosed and treated for both issues. Clearly, the orthodontic problems would be contributory, but I think you might benefit from a complete TMJ diagnostic work-up before jumping into the ortho. Tooth grinding can be caused by sleep apnea and treatment of the OSA can often eliminate the clenching and grinding habit. Arthur B. Luisi, Jr.,D.M.D.

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[-] SleepyC +0 points · about 2 months ago

HI Diligent. I have the same problem with Teeth grinding. I have had this issue for several years, and it took me a while, but I finally found a good Dentist that can make the molding for the Nightguard to the specifications that I need. Alot of dentists that I have gone to are either not interested, or don't have the means to do moldings, etc.The Nightguards in the store are not effective enough because alot of the grinding for me is on the back teeth, and this was not protected. I had alot of cracked teeth that eventually needed to be filled. This Nightguard is doing very well, and I have not had any problems . I have had it for over 5 years, and feel it may be time to talk about a new one. I am actually going tomorrow to discuss a new NightGuard. The only thing about the NightGuard is that Insurance doesn't cover the cost just FYI. I didn't even realize that grinding is a precursor to Sleep Apnea until last year, I have been grinding my teeth for several years.

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[-] DiligentPurpleCattle4560 +0 points · about 2 months ago

Wow! You have given me great advice. I will:

  1. Meet with pulmonary med doctor who specializes in sleep disorders that affect breathing and likely get a sleep study.
  2. Find out the results of above and get a CPAP if needed.
  3. Find a dentist who specializes in sleep issues and meet with him/her. Get sleep apnea mouth piece if needed and find out what I can do about my jaw, crooked, and worn teeth from all the clenching/grinding.
  4. Make an appointment with allergist/asthma doctor to see how things are going on that front. This may include visit with ENT physician.

I''ll post my progress here as I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation.

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