Oral appliances are a conservative and effective method for treating a wide range of common dental problems such as sleep apnea, TMD, and night grinding. Millions of Americans suffer from the debilitating effects of these conditions. A simple google search for potential causes and treatments can lead people in many different directions. Fortunately, with the help of Smile In Style, Diem Do DDS, we can help reduce symptoms safely and effectively.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
When we breathe, oxygen passes through the nose, mouth, and throat and ultimately ends up in the lungs. When this happens, the area in the back of the throat can collapse inward, but the muscles around it dilate to keep the airway open. If there is a disturbance in this process, the airway can be temporarily blocked, causing an apnea episode. If these episodes occur five or more times per hour, a patient is said to have obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
- Daytime fatigue
- Chronic, loud snoring
- Momentary pauses in breath during sleep
- Sore throat and dry mouth in the morning
- Headaches upon waking
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty concentrating
There are a variety of different causes or risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, including:
- Enlarged tonsils
- Age (40-60 years old)
- Smoking or tobacco use
What is TMD?
We see many patients who are concerned by jaw pain. Accompanying this discomfort can also be popping or locking of the jaw. Often, these symptoms are exacerbated after eating something that is particularly chewy or opening the mouth wide as one does during a yawn.
For many, this discomfort is mild and sporadic, for others the pain can be persistent and severe, affecting additional areas such as the neck, face, and head.
Understanding the source of this pain is an important step to treatment and recovery. The temporomandibular joints connect the upper and lower jaw, allowing the mouth to move so you can eat and speak. Patients with normal functionality of the TMJs don’t notice any discomfort during these activities. However, patients who have dysfunction of the TMJs, known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD), often experience one or more symptoms.
Causes of TMD
The causes of TMD can vary by individual. For some, it may be a result of injury to the head or face. Others may experience symptoms because of misalignment of the jaw, bruxism (grinding/clenching of the teeth), or arthritis.
The most common symptoms of TMD include:
- Limited ability to open and close the jaw
- Jaw pain while chewing or speaking
- Clicking and popping noises
- Persistent headaches
- Ear pain
We offer patients oral appliance therapy as a convenient, effective way to treat these conditions. For sleep apnea, the device works by repositioning the mouth to keep the airway open. For nighttime grinding or TMD, the habit appliances reduce pressure on the jaw joints and prevent contact between the teeth. If you are ready for relief, call us today at (504) 340-9400.