Sleep Apnea and disorders
If you have been looking for a doctor to help with headaches, even migraines, then we may be able to help. Headaches often come from TMD, tension created by the muscles that we use to chew and position our jaw with. When these muscles are allowed to be in a constant state of contraction it can pre-dispose someone to getting headaches that may range from mild all the way to migraine.
In addition to headaches, there are other signs and symptoms that may indicate a problem with an individual’s bite. Some things are noticed by the patient, such as neck/shoulder pain, facial pain, or an inability to open the mouth very wide. Other problems may be noticed by your dentist, such as abnormal wear on the chewing surfaces of your teeth or ditched out areas of your teeth at the gum line.
Resolving these problems involves the use of neuromuscular dentistry. This type of dentistry uses a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation) unit to relax the muscles into a position where they can be maintained in a resting position. In order to eliminate the poor jaw position and develop a proper bite we fabricate an orthotic (a piece of acrylic that resembles a retainer). Using the orthotic we can determine if jaw position is the source of your headaches. After that diagnosis is made then we can develop a treatment plan to permanently restore your bite.
Headaches can be debilitating and cause people to miss work, miss family events, create nausea, and even last for days. Often people will attribute their headache to a variety of other factors (didn’t eat enough, didn’t sleep enough, ate the wrong thing, got dehydrated, etc.) when in reality it is a result of poor jaw position. If you get migraines, or know someone who does, then give us a call and often we can help.
Sleep Apnea is a dangerous disorder that often goes undiagnosed, however your dentist is in an optimal position to be able to screen for sleep disorders. Many of the signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea present in areas that we can see and address. Dry mouth/throat in the morning, tooth wear, crowded teeth, snoring, high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, and numerous other signs and symptoms can be indicative of a sleep disorder. OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) and TMD overlap ~70% of the time which puts dentists in a great position to help. Depending on the severity there are a number of options for help, some of which are oral appliances. A take home sleep screening is a great first step to help understand if you may have a sleep disorder.