Often patients respond well to conservative interventions that address these issues. Our process begins with a comprehensive evaluation that assesses all of the factors that may be involved in your condition. After identifying the particular culprits, we can then move forward with effective treatment.
We encourage patients who suspect that they have sleep apnea or those experiencing jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms to contact our office to schedule your evaluation so that you can get relief from those symptoms.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a patient stops breathing for brief periods while they are asleep. In the most severe cases, these apneic episodes can occur up to 100 times an hour. Typically, sleep apnea results from obstruction of the airway caused by the collapse of the soft tissue at the back of the throat.
If you have sleep apnea, you may notice the following symptoms:
Patients who believe that they may have sleep apnea should confirm the diagnosis by undergoing a sleep study. The results of the sleep study can then guide treatment.
Getting effective sleep apnea treatment is important because the condition is associated with some serious health risks, including:
Due to the potentially serious consequences of these conditions, patients should not delay seeking treatment after receiving a sleep apnea diagnosis.
Because the positioning of the jaw and/or tongue can create the conditions that result in apneic episodes, oral appliance therapy can be highly effective in eliminating sleep apnea. The oral appliance holds the jaw or tongue forward to keep the soft tissues away from the airway opening.
Some congenital issues, such as a narrow airway or a deviated septum, may also need to be addressed in order for the patient to get complete relief from sleep apnea symptoms. In such cases, we will refer you to a specialist, such as an ENT, who can treat these concerns.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/ TMD), is a common disorder of the jaw joint and corresponding muscles, affecting more than 60 million patients each year. The condition is often mistaken for an earache or dismissed as a “normal” symptom of daily stress. The symptoms can range from occasional discomfort to chronic dysfunction, and may include:
By identifying the cause of your symptoms, we can provide treatment solutions that are designed to prevent them. Most patients experience an increase in their TMJ/TMD symptoms in response to physical or emotional stress. Habits such as clenching or grinding of the teeth can overwork the muscles that control the jaw. Since this occurs most frequently at night, most patients find it difficult or impossible to control.
The appropriate treatment for TMJ/TMD can vary depending on your lifestyle habits, the severity of the condition, and the health of your bite and jaw joints. Typically, prevention is the best solution for most patients. This may include avoiding chewing gums and foods that are difficult to chew. It may also be helpful to adjust your bite and improve the way that your teeth fit together.
Our comprehensive assessment of all of the structures that make up your jaw joint will help us to identify the specific issue at fault for your TMJ disorder and point us in the direction of the most effective treatment options. This assessment may involve:
Depending on the findings of the evaluation, we may recommend one or more of the following interventions:
If these more conservative measures fail to give you relief from your symptoms or if there is clear damage to the disc or joint, we may refer you to an oral surgeon so that you can explore surgical treatment options.
Your jaw is one of the most complex joints in the human body, comprised of multiple muscles, tendons, discs and nerve structures in addition to the maxilla and mandible. All of those components must function in concert to facilitate the jaw’s movement in multiple plains.
However, when even one of those components fails, a TMJ disorder (TMD) can develop. The hallmark symptom of TMD is jaw pain, which can vary in nature and severity. Other symptoms that can result from TMD include:
Because there are so many possible causes of TMD, patients experiencing these symptoms should visit our office for a thorough assessment of the jaw joint.