Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is abnormal pauses in breathing while sleeping. During these pauses, the brain, and the rest of the body, may not get enough oxygen.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Affects of Sleep Apnea On Your Oral Health

Sleep apnea has been shown to have a negative impact on your teeth and oral health too. Issues that can be caused by sleep apena include:

  • Cracked or worn teeth: Grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep—a condition called bruxism—is more common in people who have sleep apnea.  Over time, grinding of the teeth can can cause tooth sensitivity, and even cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth. 
  • Jaw pain: Sleep apnea is associated with chronic pain disorders, including jaw pain like TMJ or TMD. If it hurts to open and move your jaw bones, you may have one of these conditions.
  • Higher risk of developing cavities: People who have sleep apnea are likelier to breathe through their mouths—which can dry out protective saliva and lead to more tooth decay. As a result, you may be at a higher risk for enamel erosion and cavities.

Being diagnosed and treating your sleep apnea can reduce or sometimes even eliminate these dental issues. Talk to your dentist to find out the best treatment plan for you. 

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder and can be dangerous, but is treatable in most cases.

What Treatment is Available For Sleep Apnea?

Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy should be provided by a qualified dentist who has technical skill and knowledge in dental sleep medicine. 

Schedule An Appointment

Do you suffer from sleep apnea, or think that oral appliance therapy may be right for you? Make an appointment today for a consultation.

TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or also known as TMJ, is acute or chronic pain in the temporomandibular joint that acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Dysfunction can lead to pain and discomfort. Symptoms associated with TMJ disorders may be:

  • Blinking
  • Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face
  • Earache (particularly in the morning)
  • Headache (particularly in the morning)
  • Hearing loss
  • Migraine (particularly in the morning)
  • Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
  • Tinnitus
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Dizziness

How Can You Treat TMJ?

Your dentist will discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw. Your doctor will listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth, observe the range of motion in your jaw, and press around your jaw to identify any pain or discomfort.

If your’re suspected of having TMJ, you may need dental X-rays to examine your teeth and jaw, a CT scan of the bones involved in the joint, or an MRI to reveal problems with the surrounding soft tissue.

Properly diagnosing and treating TMJ can help ease the following symptoms:

  • Jaw noise
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Soreness
  • Fatigue

If your TMJ stems from teeth grinding or clenching, your dentist may recommend that you wear a custom mouth guard at night. This dental appliance will keep your upper teeth from grinding against your lower teeth. Along with helping to alleviate TMJ symptoms and pain, this guard will prevent wear on your teeth from grinding that can lead to other problems.

Schedule An Appointment

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, or have been told by another healthcare provider that you may have TMJ, give us a call for an appointment. Our Gilbert dentists can evaluate you for TMJ and offer treatment solutions.