TMD/TMJ

TMD is a disorder that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), or jaw joint, which can cause reoccurring debilitating pain in the jaw if left untreated or misdiagnosed.

The TMJ is the jaw joint that connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone of the skull. It assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw and is one of the most intricate joints in our bodies.

Symptoms of TMD

  • Clicking/popping in the jaw joints when opening or closing the mouth
  • Persistent headaches and facial pain
  • Limited ability to open the mouth
  • Pain or tenderness in the neck or ear when talking, chewing or opening the mouth wide

Since these symptoms may be a result of other conditions, a thorough examination is needed to receive an accurate diagnosis and to design an efficient treatment plan.

We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the "hinge" of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMD.

For more serious cases of TMD, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouthguard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMD, we may recommend certain invasive procedures.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea can cause fatigue, and lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and other serious health problems.

Types of Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. OSA occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. In some cases, the blockage of air is so great that no air can get through, causing repeated awakenings throughout the night. Loud snorers often experience OSA.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs because the muscles that control breathing don't receive the proper signals from the brain.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Insomnia
  • Loud snoring
  • Headaches upon waking
  • Sleeping / drowsiness during the day
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat

Risk Factors

Anyone can experience sleep apnea, even children, but the risk factors associated with this disorder include:

  • Obesity
  • A family history of sleep apnea
  • Heart problems
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Gender – Sleep apnea is more common in males.
  • Age – The risk of sleep apnea is significantly higher with adults over 40.

Treatment

Treatment for sleep apnea varies, depending on the severity and type of sleep apnea a person suffers from. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. Other treatment options include oral appliances and lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, exercise, and avoiding alcohol and smoking. In extreme cases, surgery is recommended.