Dentists: Are you dropping the ball when a patient comes to you showcasing teeth grinding? Surgical Restorative Resource says you may be missing an opportunity to diagnose OSA.
When treatment planning for bruxism, many clinicians have been trained only to observe the 3 T’s: teeth, trauma, and TMJ. In some instances, treatment planning an occlusal guard when noting clenching or grinding may be a misdiagnosis. Bruxism, in some cases, can be a result of sleep apnea, as opposed to a symptom of TMD. In patients with OSA, teeth grinding can occur as a reactionary mechanism to wake the body during sleep when there is a lack of proper oxygen intake. A percentage of patients, including children, actually grind their teeth to wake themselves when the body is gasping for air during moments of apnea. Their bruxism may be a direct result of untreated sleep apnea.