Often, people suffer from headaches, poor sleep, and even jaw pain due to issues with our oral health. TMJ disorder, bruxism, and sleep apnea impact millions of people. Despite the major differences between these oral health concerns, your Los Angeles, CA, dentist can often address them all with a simple (and custom-made) oral appliance.
TMJ Disorder and Bruxism
TMJ disorder occurs when the jaw joints undergo excessive strain, often as a result of tooth loss, dental misalignment, bite imbalance, or injury to the face or jaw. Fully opening and closing the mouth could be difficult, and sufferers could experience popping or crackling in the jaw, as well as headaches and migraines. Bruxism, in which we grind our teeth and clench our jaws on a near-nightly basis, could wear down structure and lead to cracked or chipped teeth, and increase the risk of decay or infection. The same factors behind TMD could lead to teeth grinding, and bruxism is also often the result of high levels of stress in daily life. Untreated TMD could lead to bruxism, and vice versa.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
When we snore, this means airways are partially obstructed, and the loud sound is caused by soft tissues being vibrated as air is forced through. Sleep apnea means the airways become completely obstructed as you sleep, so you stop breathing for brief periods. You may not remember these episodes, but they happen hundreds of times a night sometimes, causing sleep deprivation, as well as headaches, irritability, daytime exhaustion, and over time, a strained cardiovascular system!
Oral Appliance Therapy
To treat these three oral health concerns, we may start by taking detailed impressions and images of your smile, using the information to create a custom-made oral appliance. Then device will fit like a mouthguard and be worn as you sleep each night. The device helps ease pressure on the jaw joints, to stop the factors behind TMD or bruxism. The appliance also places a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth, preventing further damage when you grind or clench your teeth. For people with sleep apnea, or chronic snoring, the device helps reposition the jaw to ensure open airways throughout the night, so you breathe without interruption! If you have any questions about any of these three disorders, or if you would like to try oral appliance therapy, then contact our team today.
Do You Have Questions About Preventive and General Dentistry?
With a custom-made device, we can provide solutions to a number of jaw joint disorders. If you want to learn more about improving your oral health, then contact Dr. Ivan Lapidus in Los Angeles, CA, by calling (310) 446-4867. We’re proud to serve residents of the San Luis Obispo area!