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Many times, the discovery of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea is found out about by your family dentist, not the family doctor. Your dentist may notice problems with your teeth like tooth sensitivity or facial muscular pain. If your dentist diagnoses you with bruxism, you’ll probably be referred back to your primary care physician to look into the possibility that you might have sleep apnea as well.

Bruxism is simply another term for clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth. These disorders may happen at any time of the day or night, but most of the time they occur at sleeping hours, making them difficult to diagnose. This can cause the patient to feel unrested, and be prone to headaches and pain in the jaw and neck.

Besides being an oral health issue, bruxism is also considered to be a sleep-related movement disorder because the condition is an involuntary physical movement of the lower jaw during sleep.

The first thing you will need to do if sleep apnea is suspected is a sleep test. There is a take-home sleep apnea test that you take overnight, or you may be asked to attend a sleep clinic where you will be monitored to determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

If you are worried about your pattern of sleep, feel exhausted all the time, or have neck or jaw pain, come and see Dr. Keith Blackmon for an evaluation. Please contact Family Dental Care of Dothan to make an appointment at: 334-792-5711, or come by our office in Dothan, Alabama.