Can’t Sleep? Do you have TMJ pain?
Rochester Dentists Use Advanced Muscle Tracking Technology and Monitored Therapies to Improve Sleep Issues and Avoid Pain Spiral
Rochester, Michigan dentists Kurt Doolin and Jeff Haddad have successfully treated patients suffering from headaches and an array of jaw pain symptoms, categorized as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), for over a decade. With growing clinical evidence connecting TMD to sleep breathing disorders, they are increasingly using proven TMD therapies garnered from individualized muscle tracking technology to successfully treat patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) as well. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of patients we treat for combined obstructive sleep apnea/TMD since our practice began monitoring and treating sleep apnea 8 years ago,” says Dr. Doolin. “During that time, we have refined treatment approaches and the design of oral therapy appliances as new information, research and technology have become available. More Patients Seek Out Dentists for Dual Treatment as Growing Clinical Evidence Links Jaw Pain and Sleep Apnea And indeed new information has become available. Recent data indicates an estimated 75% of people with TMD also have sleep breathing disorders, and 52% of people with sleep disorders have TMD problems, according to Dr. Haddad. Patients with TMD frequently have a destructive, worn-down bite which forces their lower jaw backwards. This backwards positioning can increase the degree of blockage of a person’s airway while they sleep, which leads to obstructive sleep apnea. Conversely, a person with an obstructed airway may clench and grind their teeth, which can wear down the teeth and deteriorate the bite, leading to TMD symptoms and pain. Various tools are used, including advanced muscle tracking technology, to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea. Patients undergo a sleep evaluation that provides an Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI), which is a measurement of the severity of sleep apnea. The studies combine information on blood oxygen level and the number of times sleep is disrupted by low oxygen during sleep to help us determine a course of action. If mild to moderate OSA is diagnosed, the dentists provide a customized mandibular splint device for nighttime wear to move the lower jaw forward and hold the airway open. They then reevaluate their patients with their screening equipment in order to determine if the appliance is successful. If the sleep evaluation reveals that a patient has severe sleep apnea, they will be referred for an evaluation with a sleep physician, sometimes a comprehensive dental and medical approach brings the best patient outcome. Sally Shrock of Rochester is a patient who experienced symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. She says her life was changed following OSA treatment. “For the first time in years, I now sleep like a baby with very little snoring. What a blessing that is for me and for my husband.” Dr. Haddad cautions against self-treatment and says one-size-fits-most sleep apnea appliances can hurt, not heal. The proper approach to treating TMD and Obstructive Sleep Apnea is with the use of precise muscle measuring and monitored therapy, not simply an oral appliance. The incorrect appliance can force patients into a headache/jaw pain spiral. We have treated patients in our practice who have been adversely affected by the use of over-the-counter, Internet ordered, or poorly made sleep appliances. When we made new, precisely measured sleep appliances based on their personal muscle physiology and monitored the outcome, their pain symptoms were relieved and their sleep issues improved with greater predictability. For additional information contact: www.rochesteradvanceddentistry.com or 248.656.2020