TMJ Disorders & Sleep Apnea

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
The two temporomandibular joints (jaw joints) work together in a delicate balance with muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. When a problem prevents these parts from working together properly, pain may result. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can often be managed by finding what works to relieve the symptoms. Experts generally recommend a “less is often best” approach to treating temporomandibular joint disorders. Self-care practices may be recommended, such as: eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum, massaging the muscles, and applying moist heat. Minimizing extreme jaw movement such as yawning and singing is also advised. When necessary, the pain may be treated with medication, with a bite splint to decrease clenching and grinding of teeth, by adjusting an uneven bite, and even by orthodontics. A specialized x-ray for the TMJ might also be requested.

Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea causes those affected to stop breathing periodically during sleep. Their soft tissues collapse against the back of their throat, closing the airway and reducing the amount of oxygen reaching their brain and body. The process of blocking and unblocking the airway causes significant disruption of sleep. People who suffer from OSA complain of daytime sleepiness, which can impair their ability to concentrate. OSA can be associated with high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, and depression. There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. If you believe you suffer from sleep apnea, we would be willing to discuss your concerns.

Oral Appliance for Sleep-Related Breathing Disorder (snore guard)
After a shared diagnosis with a sleep physician, it can be determined if an oral appliance would benefit a person with a sleep-related breathing disorder. The appliance is designed to open the airway by moving the lower jaw forward, which helps to improve breathing and reduce snoring during sleep. An oral appliance can be effective for those with benign snoring, mild obstructive sleep apnea, and in some cases, when a CPAP device cannot be tolerated.