TMJ Treatment at Westwood Dental Smiles
TMD Treatment and Snoring/Sleep Apnea Appliances
Over 10 million people in the United States suffer from temporomandibular joint or TMJ dysfunction. The temporomandibular joints are two joints on either side of the head that allow smooth jaw movement like opening and closing the mouth, moving the jaw from side to side, chewing and yawning. Problems like arthritis, trauma, jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism) may damage the TMJs and lead to chronic pain and difficulty eating and speaking.
TMD Symptoms and Treatment
The common symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction are:
- If the jaw movement deviates, you could be suffering from TMD, which can lead to pain and discomfort.
- Clicking or popping sounds or difficulty when opening and closing mouth
- Earaches without an infection
- Ringing or sense of fullness in one or both ears
- Frequent tension headaches or migraines
- Migraine pain
- Sensitive teeth when no dental problems can be found
- Stiff and sore neck & shoulders
- Jaw pain or stiff and sore jaw when chewing, biting, eating or yawning.
- Sinus and facial pressure
- Chronic pain in the jaw and face
If you have any of these symptoms, let us know. Bruxism is the rhythmic clenching or sliding of the teeth, often in response to stress or malocclusion, a misalignment of the teeth or jaw. In most people the teeth are in contact an average of five minutes a day, but during an episode of bruxism they may touch for up to eight hours. That means that you can put four months of wear on your teeth in one day.
Only your TMD specialist in Los Angeles can determine for certain if you have TMD. Dr. Anderkvist will examine your mouth, neck and head to determine the source of pain accurately and provide permanent relief. If the tests confirm that you have TMD, Dr. Anderkvist may recommend gentle, combination treatment with pain medicationor sedation dentistry, muscle relaxation, mouth guard or night guard, biofeedback, stress management, and other conservative therapies.
There are recommendations for people with bruxism:
- Reduce your stress level.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Stress, alcohol and other factors that make you restless at night increase the likelihood of tooth grinding.
- Break the habit. If you’re a daytime grinder, which means noticing the habit so you can stop it. The most common way to knock the nighttime habit is to sleep wearing a “bite plate,” a plastic device similar to an athletic mouth guard.
- Finally you should visit us, your dentist if you suspect the problem is related to improperly aligned teeth or poor dental work.
If TMD is diagnosed, we can design an effective treatment, and if necessary, use a team approach with specialists. We also work with -migraine appliances and night guards for bruxism/clenching. A recent advance is: “The Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension suppression system, NTI-Tss. It’s a new, small device that prevents bruxism by suppressing nightly clenching that you are unaware off. It can also prevent medically diagnosed migraine pain and is approved by the FDA.
Different Mouth Guards
For people who clench their jaws and grind their teeth while sleeping (bruxism), Dr. Anderkvist recommends mouth guards or night guards. These devices relieve pressure on the TMJs and prevent the upper and lower teeth from making contact. Mouth guards can also prevent tooth sensitivity and bite problems. If you play contact sports, Dr. Anderkvist can also design a custom sports guard to prevent facial injuries or snoreguards for sleep apnea.
Snoreguards and sleep apnea devices
Snoring—besides being bothersome to your bedmate—is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. This condition, also known as OSA, actually causes you to stop breathing while you sleep; and often hundreds, if not thousands of times per night. This halt in breathing occurs when your tongue, throat and jaw muscles relax, which then cause your airway to be blocked. When breathing stops, the body reacts with a momentary spike in blood pressure. Because these jagged halts in breathing can occur hundreds of times nightly, the effects are multiplied—and truly dangerous.
As a result, OSA has been proven to cause a range of serious health problems, including:
- Heart attacks
- Heart disease and plaque buildup
Unfortunately, diagnosis and treatment for OSA is often overly expensive, ineffective—or both. Because they are conducted by licensed sleep centers, they involve an overnight stay, which is obviously very time-consuming.
20% of the population snores and there are several different oral appliances available to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Mandibular advancers work by moving the lower jaw forward. As it does, the tongue and uvula (that little piece of flesh that hangs down from the rear portion of the soft palate) move away from the back of the throat, allowing for more regular breathing.
Though they take a little getting used to, these appliances do work for TMD treatment, and early adapters will love them.
Many times it changes your life by improving energy level, better quality of sleep and overall better wellness.
We do analyze the bite for our patients, and make sure the TMJ structures are healthy, and that they are correlating with their bite relationships. We treat diseased – TMJ structures for example – in different ways. One of them, is for example, utilizing splints and night guards. And for example, many times you may have woken up with clicking in your jaws, or pain and headaches, and we do treat those conditions as well.
Schedule a consultation with your Los Angeles dentist to learn more about TMD symptoms and treatments. Call 310-208-4084 now or make an appointment online.
Sleep Apnea – MAD