Most people contact their family doctor if they have a headache or have difficulty sleeping. But what they need is a visit to the dentist.
Increasing evidence indicates that dental and oral problems can cause a number of common health conditions. However, the awareness that dentists can help remains low.
"There is a lack of awareness in both the public and the medical profession, and even some dentists have not taken any additional training to address a range of health conditions, especially respiratory disorders," explains Drs. Aditi Desai, President of the British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine.
"Most patients only think about a dentist when they need a check-up or have a toothache. However, sleep problems, headaches and ear and jaw pain can all be caused by dental problems.
General Practitioner: Dental and oral problems can lead to a number of common medical conditions
"If your family doctor can not solve these problems, you should consult your dentist."
Increasing evidence for the connection of sleep disorders with dental problems such. As the grinding of teeth have led to a completely new branch of medicine, which is known as dental sleep medicine.
Next week, Dr. Desai, a dentist for more than 40 years and a specialist in sleep medicine since 15, at a meeting of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, Sleep Disorders: Dental and Medical Approaches, discuss with experts to discuss the latest ways to treat sleep disorders.
It emphasizes the need for cooperation between specialists and trained dentists.
One root-tooth problem is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that afflicts 1.5 million people in the UK, where the walls of the neck relax and contract, interrupting breathing and sleep.
Dr. Desai says that OSA is common in people who grind their teeth at night. Despite severe illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart disease, up to 85 percent of OSA patients are undiagnosed because symptoms are difficult to detect and access to hospital sleep services is limited.
Did you know? Another area of sleep medicine in which dentists can help is snoring. In these cases, a mouth protects my help
"Up to 40 percent of adults with OSA grind their teeth," says Dr. Desai. "We used to think that the grinding of teeth at night was caused by stress, but a new theory says that in some cases it is the result of not being able to breathe efficiently while sleeping. When grinding, try to open the airways. "
By detecting sleep loops – signs are worn teeth or damaged teeth – then look for signs of OSA, eg. A clam pillow (a sign that the patient has bitten to keep the airway open) or a large tongue (the resulting lack of space in the mouth pushes) it is backwards, the airways blocked), a lowered soft palate ( soft tissue in the back of the mouth) and restricted airways, and checking for risk factors, including snoring, can help dentists diagnose OSA.
"If the condition is severe and other health problems exist, patients must be examined by a specialist, and a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep the airway open can be prescribed," says Dr. Desai
"In milder cases, however, the condition can be treated by a dentist with a Mandibular Reduction Device (MRD), a surgical mask worn while sleeping, holding the lower jaw and tongue forward at night and opening the airway."
MRDs are only available on the NHS if CPAP treatment is inappropriate and can cost up to £ 2,000.
Wearing over a long period of time can cause side effects such as tooth movement and jaw pain. They can make a difference, according to a study of 369 patients with OSA, who kept them asleep for six months and were published in the Sleep Medicine journal in 2016. In total, symptoms such as daytime tiredness and morning headaches improved in 76 percent of the cases.
Even in severe cases, treatment was successful in about 60 percent of cases and only 8 percent of patients discontinued the device because of side effects. The failure of CPAP devices is up to 50 percent. Dr. Desai says that all patients who complain of fatigue and are snoring should be examined for insomnia.
Sleep on it: headache can be caused in the morning by teeth grinding, which affect up to a third of the humans
"Doctors and Dentists need to work together to properly diagnose these patients so they can be treated," she says.
Another area of sleep medicine in which dentists can help is snoring. In these cases, a mouth protects my help.
The downside is that there are only a handful of sleep medicine specialists (listed on the website of the British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine (bsdsm.org.uk) and all are private.) Prices start at £ 150 per appointment ,
But it's not just sleep. Dentists say there are many other health ailments related to dental problems that they can help with.
Headaches can be the first to be caused by teeth grinding in the morning, which according to Dr. Mayor Patel, a dentist based in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in the treatment of migraine, sleep disorders, mouth and facial pain, is affected by up to a third.
"When the jaw grinds its teeth, it not only ruins the teeth but also causes injuries to the temporomandibular joint (connecting the jawbone to the skull)," explains Dr. Patel, who will also address next week's conference. "This can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) – pain, inflammation and stiffness in the TMJ and surrounding muscles.
Forcing these muscles through teeth grinding can also irritate and activate the trigeminal nerve (which is responsible for the sensation on the face, biting and chewing), which can trigger headaches. Between 30 and 50 percent of adults clenching their teeth complain of headaches in the morning or during the day. "Exactly the same mechanism can also lead to earache, ringing in the ears or feeling of fullness in the ear." According to a study published in the journal Pain and Research Management, up to three-quarters of people with TMD experience headaches last year, compared with 45 percent in general.
The treatment of sanding – with mouthguards and muscle relaxants to put pressure on teeth and jaw – along with the nerve pain caused by it, can eliminate this headache, says dr. Patel.
"These patients usually go to a family doctor for headaches and try a range of medications. If they fail, other causes should be investigated. We'll find her later, when she's finally referred to the dentist and diagnosed with TMD, "he adds.
"Many doctors do not consider the jaw as the cause of the problem, because this area of medicine is not part of their education and they do not know what to look for."
The British Dental Association (BDA), representing 35,000 dentists, says it is already at the forefront of detecting diseases such as oral cancer and checking for signs of the disease as a routine component of dental appointments.
However, the BDA would like to see doctors join doctors "Dentists see their patients twice a year – more often than many primary care physicians," says Dr. BDA. Desai. "We are making progress – but there is still much work to be done to ensure that patients receive the treatment they need."
However, family doctors are careful when it comes to expanding the role of the dentist. "Dentists are very competent healthcare professionals, but they are not general practitioners, and sleep problems can indicate a range of more serious illnesses that a doctor can fully diagnose and diagnose," says Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs.
She adds, "Treating your mouthguards may be helpful in short-term sleep disorders, but general practitioners may take a holistic view of a patient's health and well-being. Dentists should not be seen or used as substitutes. "