Choose the Best Dentist Finder Hi folks! Here at the Dental Optimizer we're working hard to connect patients with dentists and we've had some pretty good successes so far. If you're looking for a good dentist, head back to our home page and select the Best Dentist Finder. If you're a dentist or dental employee who's looking to expand your reach among people looking for dentists go to and get started on a profile. Our intention with these articles is not to diagnose your problem or make specific recommendations about your situation. We're trying to keep people informed about common oral health issues so they can know what to tell their dentist and know which questions to ask. The best action to take if a symptom sounds familiar or if you're curious about a treatment is to contact your dentist for their guidance. If you don't have a dentist, go to http://www.dentaloptimizer.com/ask-a-dentist/ and submit a question. A dentist near you will respond as quickly as possible.
We've been seeing more and more CPAP machines (for sleep apnea) in the security line at the airport and, of course, that gets us thinking about the links between sleep apnea and TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. It's often called TMJ by the general public and the distinction becomes fairly specific since TMJ is name of the joint where the disorder occurs. Â We now know that 25-30% of Americans suffer from pain related to TMD and as much as 70% of the population show symptoms but with less disruption to their general health. Symptoms of TMD include headaches and migraines; jaw pain; neck ache; clicking of the jaw when eating, talking, or yawning; grinding and chipping of teeth, especially during sleep; sleep disorders; and limited jaw movement. If your bite is imperfect, and most people's bites are, then your TMJ will be continually moving to correct this situation. This joint is unique because it's capable of moving in multiple directions: up and down, back and forth, side to side.
You might be wondering what causes your bite to require the continual movement of TMJ. For some people it's rooted in abnormal breathing while their mouth develops. The common position for your tongue with your mouth closed is resting against the roof of your mouth. Now, if your nasal passages are clear and nasal breathing is uninterrupted, this will be fine. However, and this is especially important for kids, if you've got allergies that interrupt the nasal breathing, then you will likely be breathing through your mouth, especially during sleep. In order for air to pass through your mouth, your tongue will necessarily drop to a lower position. One of the effects of the movement of your tongue is that your upper teeth and jaw will form in a more narrow position. This prevents regular and consistent contact with your lower jaw and teeth. Â In this case, as your bite becomes maligned, your jaw muscles will work overtime trying to line up an appropriate bite. As your jaw muscles become fatigued they receive help from other muscles like those in the neck and back. Soon, you might have trouble with posture and walking with pain existing as far away as your hips. Â
(We're not trying to scare you. We're just trying to paint a picture of some of the effects of a common problem that's also commonly misunderstood.) You can think of this scenario like walking around with two different types of shoes. It doesn't take long for discomfort to spread around much of your body. Your dentist can help you align your bite. Once they've got your jaw muscles relaxed they can take impressions and create for you a neuromuscular anatomical orthotic or “night guard” as they're commonly known. This device will help your bite maintain alignment which decreases the stress on the jaw muscles as well as the other muscles which have been subsequently strained by your balance. For many people this simple device helps resolve many often-painful symptoms often associated with TMD. Their sleep may improve, back, jaw, and neck pain may decrease, and collateral damage to your teeth will almost certainly stop. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please check with your dentist right away. There are other therapies they may suggest that can help get your bite and your body back into balance.
Published on May 4, 2014
If you're looking for a good dentist, head back to our home page and select the Best Dentist Finder. If you're a dentist or dental employee...