Whether you are in the dentist’s office, in your local pharmacy, on the Internet, watching the Home Shopping Network, looking at an airline magazine, or at the local sporting goods store, we are all bombarded with a vast array of oral appliances that promise to do something special. They are touted to get your snoring under control, manage your sleep apnea, get rid of your morning headaches and TMJ problem, cure your migraines, stop teeth grinding, stop you from biting your tongue and cheeks while sleeping, or even give you more strength and better athletic performance! There seems to be an appliance for whatever ails you.
Here is what you need to know about Oral Appliances:
In my office, oral appliances, also called bite plates, splints, orthotics and night guards, are used to help relieve facial and jaw pain, control the severity of morning headaches, improve a compromised airway during sleep, and prevent morning jaw locking, which is one of the most troublesome and frightening problems my patients experience. As a result of using these devices, patients routinely report less tooth sensitivity, less pain, discomfort and tightness in their jaw muscles and reduced severity of TMJ pain, noises and jaw locking events.
My expertise with these oral appliances has given countless patients long lasting relief.
These oral appliances which are custom fit to the specifics of a problem, are used to help support and protect unstable and painful Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ’s) that are compromised by arthritis or cartilage and ligament problems. These complicated orthopedic compromises within the TMJs require the type of expertise that I can provide. In addition a variety of these appliance can be used to diminish muscle fatigue, soreness and spasm. Most of these appliances are used during the sleeping hours but can be modified to be used during select times during the day.
When patients are known to clench or grind their teeth at night, these oral appliances can be designed to diminish the impact of these destructive oral movements. No oral appliance can stop these destructive sleep related movements but when properly designed they can help diminish jaw injury to a significant extent.
My expertise also encompasses the appliance options that are available to treat snoring and sleep apnea. These appliances, which either shift the jaw forward to increase the opening of the airway or prevent the jaw from falling back and reducing airway opening, must be fit properly to maximize their benefit and to prevent problems with the jaw muscles, jaw joints and the way your teeth fit together. Reducing snoring and the consequences of sleep apnea is certainly my goal, but not at any price. As a result, I am personally involved in the fitting, adjustment and monitoring of these devices. No assistant is given these responsibilities. These appliances can be used nightly or used on alternative nights in patients needing a break from CPAP therapy and the obligation of wearing a mask.
As you can clearly see, once the proper diagnosis is made, the selection, adjustment and monitoring of all oral appliances is critical. My involvement with these problems on a daily basis will ensure that not only will the right care be delivered, but also potential problems will be recognized early on and addressed.
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