Patients who experience severe daytime sleepiness, chronic morning headaches or jaw pain, loud snoring, lack of concentration, and a number of other symptoms may be suffering from sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMD), or bruxism. While these three health conditions may not have a lot in common, Jacksonville Dental Specialists is able to offer similar treatment options for each of them. We offer oral appliances that keep airways clear, reduce unnecessary jaw movement, and prevent teeth from grinding and clenching. Contact our team to find out more or schedule an appointment today.
Sleep apnea, the cessation of breathing for ten or more seconds at a time throughout the night, is a common sleep disorder that effects more than 40 million adults in the US. While a visit to the dentist may not be patients’ first instinct, oral appliances offer a comfortable, portable solution to keep airways clear. Traditionally, sleep apnea is treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). However, many patients find themselves unable to adjust to this treatment which can be loud and uncomfortable. These patients are considered to be CPAP intolerant. Oral appliance therapy may be a valid alternative solution for these patients. Sleep apnea appliances shift the jaw forward. This places pressure on the throat muscles keeping them tight and preventing obstruction of the airway. Unlike CPAP therapy, these appliances are easily stored in luggage for patients who frequently travel by plane.
Patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction, pain or limited jaw mobility due to strained connective joints, may experience this problem due to bruxism, nighttime teeth grinding and clenching. Custom crafted nightguards offer patients with TMD and bruxism relief and protection. The oral appliances are crafted to position the jaw in the most comfortable location which reduces unconscious jaw movement that may strain or further irritate the connective joints for TMJ dysfunction sufferers. Additionally, these guards place a physical barrier between teeth protecting them from possible wear or damage caused by nighttime teeth grinding and clenching. There are a number of nightguard varieties available in stores, and they provide minimal protection for patients suffering from bruxism. However, they are not as effective as our more durable custom appliances, and they do not prevent unconscious jaw motion, which means they aren’t effective in treating TMD.