Sleep Apnea/TMD

What they are.

  • Snoring is the obstruction of air movement during sleep caused by the collapse and vibration of soft tissues in the upper airway.
  • Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing during sleep resulting when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, blocking the airway. Individuals will partially awaken in reaction to the low oxygen level and the airway will contract and open.
  • Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are an array of acute and chronic symptoms associated with the temporomandibular joint.

When and why treatment is needed. 

In general, treatment for the above is elected because of disturbance during sleep. For those suffering from sleep apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness due to fragmented sleep is one reason for treatment. However, those suffering from sleep apnea are also more likely to suffer from heart problems, strokes and have a higher rate of work and driving related accidents.

Treatment options.

Continuous positive airway pressure is generated from a bedside machine through a mask that covers the person's nose. The pressure of the air forces the person's airways to remain open.

Oral appliance therapy consists of custom-designed oral appliances, similar to retainers or mouth guards, worn in the mouth during sleep. The appliances may reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate or uvula, stabilize the lower jaw and tongue, and increase the muscle tone of the tongue.

Surgical procedures may include jaw advancement, or removal of excess throat tissue, tonsils, adenoids, the uvula, or parts of the soft palate.

The treatment of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a complex one. Because the disorder transcends the boundaries between several health care disciplines involving dentistry, neurology, physical therapy and psychology, treatment could involve one of a combination of these areas.

When possible, the treatment should be reversible at least in Phase I. Mandibular Repositioning Devices, also known as splints, are part of this treatment. On Phase II, Reconstructive Dentistry, Orthodontics, and Oral Surgery are possible options