Neuromuscular Dentistry & TMJ Treatment

Sleep Apnea Treatment

 Do you snore loudly and feel excessively fatigued throughout the day? If so, it's possible you suffer from a sleep condition known as obstructive sleep apnea

  1. Sleep Anpea and Snoring
  2. Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  3. Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
  4. Sleep and SnoreDevice

 

A person snores when his/her airway becomes blocked during the deep breathing that occurs while sleeping. Sometimes, the tongue relaxes and falls back toward the throat, blocking the flow of air. As less air is able to pass through, you begin to snore ­– a result of the vibrations in your throat. Not all snoring is the result of sleep apnea, but most people suffering from this sleep condition snore.

In addition to snoring, symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea may include:

  • Choking and gasping during sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Waking with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Frequent morning headaches

The consequences of sleep apnea may continue throughout the day, manifesting in ways including:

  • Excessive daytime fatigue
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Mood swings
  • Depression and anxiety

This sleep disorder is quite serious. As your body and brain are repeatedly denied oxygen throughout the night, you can experience serious health effects as a result. Sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity. To avoid these more serious and life-threatening complications, it is best to visit our Houston sleep apnea dentist to learn about safe and effective treatment options that can help prevent airway obstruction and restore a full and restful night’s sleep.

Sleep Apnea Risk Factors

 

Anyone can develop sleep apnea. That said, some people have certain risk factors that may make them more likely to develop the condition:

  • Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. In fact, those classified as obese are four times as likely to suffer from the condition than those who are at a healthy weight
  • Those who use alcohol or sedatives are more likely to develop sleep apnea because these can relax the muscles of the throat and encourage nocturnal airway collapse
  • Smokers are four times as likely to develop sleep apnea than nonsmokers. In most cases, cessation of smoking can reduce your risk
  • Patients with narrowed airways are more likely to develop sleep apnea because the airway is more likely to become blocked at night
  • Patients with thick necks may be more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than those with relatively average necks. In men, sleep apnea is more likely for those with neck circumferences of 17 inches or greater. In women, it's 15 inches
  • Men are twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea as women
  • Women suffer from an elevated risk of sleep apnea after menopause
  • The incidence of sleep apnea is higher in older adults than in younger patients
  • Genetics also play a role. If one or more of your family members suffer from the sleep condition, you're more likely to well

Sleep apnea can be a serious sleep condition, but treatment options are improving every day. While bulky machines used to be the only reliable treatment, oral appliances have proved to be excellent options for many patients. And there are numerous additional sleep apnea treatments available at our Houston office to help patients find relief.

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TMJ Disorder: Headaches, Joint Pain and Jaw Popping

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects your jaw to your skull, is one of the most complex joints in your body. It utilizes both a hinge action and sliding motions to enable your jaw to move up and down and side to side. Your lower jaw has rounded ends that move in and out of the joint socket when you perform routine functions such as talking, chewing and yawning. Cartilage covers the bones of the joint, and shock-absorbing disks separate the joint’s ball and socket to ensure that all movements are smooth. 

However, when this joint is out of alignment, you can suffer debilitating pain, discomfort, and a loss of function.

How Common is TMJ?

 

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), also referred to as Myofascial Pain Dysfunction (MPD) or temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). This is a chronic illness that affects 75 million people at any one time. There are many people who have no pain but still have an occlusal disease (misaligned bite). Worn, chipped or broken teeth, broken fillings, changing position or shape of the smile are all indications that can benefit from treatment.

TMJ Causes

 

Due to the complexity of the TMJ, it is often difficult to determine the exact cause. The condition can develop from an injury to the jaw, TMJ, head muscles or neck muscles. Often, these injuries are caused by a jarring blow or whiplash.

Other possible causes of TMD include:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Pressure on the TMJ caused by grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Dislocation of the disk separating the ball and socket of the TMJ
  • Damage to the cartilage of the TMJ caused by arthritis
  • Stress which may result in a tightening of the facial and jaw muscles
  • Allergies and breathing problems
  • Missing teeth

Do You Need Relief from TMJ Symptoms?

 

TMD can be extremely painful. While this pain may be short-lived, it is possible for it to become chronic, lasting for many years and causing degenerative problems if left untreated. Common TMJ symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Tinnitus
  • Facial pain
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Uneven bite
  • Clicking, popping or grating sound in the jaw joint when opening your mouth or chewing
  • Limited mobility in the mouth
  • Uncomfortable bite 
  • Facial swelling
  • Toothaches – a dull ache that affects several teeth in a concentrated area
  • Neck Pain 
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness and tingling

Worn teeth are not normal, but can be a common symptom of TMJ. As a result of TMD, you may suffer from cracked, loose, missing, chipped or broken teeth.

Are Your Headaches Linked to TMJ?

Not every type of headache is related to the temporomandibular joints, and some headaches have no identifiable cause, which can make searching for headache and migraine treatment  difficult. Most headaches fall into one of three categories:

  • Primary headaches including tension, migraine and cluster headaches
  • Secondary headaches are a sign of other conditions like meningitis, encephalitis, brain tumors or brain injuries
  • Cranial neuralgias, facial pain, and other headaches

Of these types, the headaches that may be caused by a TMJ disorder are:

  • Tension headache
  • Sinus headache
  • Migraine-like headache
  • Cranial neuralgias and facial pain

Primary headaches are the most common headaches, affecting more than 90 percent of the population. TMJ can often cause, trigger or worsen primary headaches. Tension headaches, the most common form of primary headaches, are often related to TMJ disorders.

These headaches are caused because the temporomandibular joint is out of alignment, which leads to tension in your muscles and can cause headaches.

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