The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Bruxism

Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep-related problems each year. That statistic just scratches the surface, however, because many sleep disorders go undiagnosed. After all, the main symptoms cannot be perceived by a person while they are asleep. Sleep apnea and bruxism are among the disorders that can be hard to identify, and the two are often linked.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is one of the three most common sleep disorders, affecting over one billion individuals. It interrupts a person’s breathing pattern while they sleep, causing them to repeatedly stop and start breathing throughout the night. 

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the muscles of your throat relax during sleep, blocking the airway and causing the body to stop breathing for up to 10 seconds at a time. 


Sleep apnea can cause an individual to feel fatigued throughout the day and underperform at work or during other daily activities. 

Other symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up feeling exhausted
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating throughout the day
  • High blood pressure

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a disorder where individuals unconsciously grind, clench, or brace their teeth. This is caused by repetitive jaw-muscle activity.

There are two main types of bruxism: sleep-related and awake. Sleep-related bruxism is categorized by rhythmic movements (grinding), sustained contractions (clenching), or a combination of both while a person is asleep. 


Dentists can identify evidence of bruxism during an exam, which is indicated by a misalignment of the jaw or teeth, eroded surfaces, and loose teeth.

A few of the other symptoms of sleep bruxism are:

  • Tooth pain and increased sensitivity 
  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Worn enamel
  • Jaw, facial, and neck pain
  • Chronic headaches

Sleep Apnea and Bruxism

Sleep apnea and bruxism are often linked and it is not uncommon for an individual to suffer from both simultaneously. Nearly one in four individuals with sleep apnea also grind their teeth at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. While it is still unclear why the two conditions can be related, there are a few theories.

One prominent theory suggests that sleep apnea can trigger bruxism. When the airway is blocked, the muscles in the mouth and jaw work to reopen it, causing the teeth to grind. Another theory is that bruxism helps relieve the dry tissues of the mouth and back of the throat, which is a side effect of sleep apnea. It is also possible that the stress and anxiety that interrupted sleep causes makes the jaw unconsciously clench or grind. 

Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea and Bruxism

In addition to all of the symptoms, if left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues. Individuals may develop type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, and suffer memory loss. Continued bruxism is also harmful to your health. It can break and loosen teeth, as well as wear down enamel, crowns, and fillings over time. 

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Tucson

If you notice any of the symptoms of sleep apnea or bruxism in yourself or a loved one, Smith Dentalworks is here to help. 

To learn more about how Smith Dentalworks can relieve your sleep apnea symptoms, contact us today.

How Long Does Invisalign Take to Work?

An estimated 65% of American adults have crooked teeth, according to a survey by the National Library of Medicine. Luckily, traditional braces and headgear are no longer the only options to realign teeth; there is also Invisalign clear. 

The subtle design of Invisalign clear aligners is a great option for adults and children alike who want to straighten their teeth without the bulk of metal braces. It can also cut the realignment time in half.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign is a virtually invisible (hence the name) plastic device used to adjust teeth. It can be a solution for those with an over or underbite, crowding, and gaps. The device is specially fit for your mouth through 3D imaging and a plaster mold. 

Every month or so, the patient will be fit for a new aligner to match the changing positioning of their teeth. The average case takes anywhere between six and 50 trays to complete the treatment.

Factors That Affect Treatment Time

The average treatment time is about a year, but it can take anywhere from six to 36 months. Some patients can begin to see subtle differences as soon as 10 weeks. 

The amount of time Invisalign takes to work is dependent on a few factors out of the patient’s control, but also has a lot to do with how closely they follow their treatment plan.


Children and teenagers are still growing and developing, and this includes their teeth. This makes it easier to realign them. That doesn’t mean that adults will not benefit from Invisalign, it just might take slightly longer. 

Following the Treatment Plan

To receive the results you want, you have to fully commit to your Invisalign treatment plan. This includes taking proper care of your trays, wearing them for the recommended amount of time, and bringing them with you during travel. 

Invisalign clear trays should be worn for the majority of every day, around 20-23 hours, to fully take effect. They should only be removed when they are cleaned, while you eat, and when you brush your teeth.

Complexity of the Case

Each person’s case is unique, so their journey to straight teeth will be also. The complexity of a case is affected by how much the teeth need to move in order to produce the desired outcome. Both crowding and gapping in teeth contribute to the treatment length.

Crowded Teeth

Crowding of teeth is a common problem fixed by Invisalign. This can occur if your jaw is small or your teeth are slightly larger than normal, causing them to overlap or push into one another. Subtle cases of crowding can be realigned in around six months, while more serious cases can take a year or more.

Gapped Teeth

Diastemata, or gaps between teeth, is another common occurrence, and usually easier to fix than crowding. The size of the gap will determine how long it will take to correct. Small gaps can disappear in just eight weeks with Invisalign.
If both gaps and crowding are present, treatment usually takes about 18 months.

Invisalign Dentist in Oro Valley

At Smith Dentalworks, we believe that everyone deserves to have a smile that makes them feel confident. Our team of trained professionals has the experience and commitment to serve your family, general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry needs.

Take the first step toward your new smile by scheduling an appointment to learn more about Invisalign clear aligners today.