Snoring & TMJ

Sleep & Snoring

Preventing Snoring

Sleep apnea, characterized by pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep, is a serious condition that should not be ignored. While snoring is a common problem for many people, it can also be a sign of other major health complications. In fact, it is estimated that more than 80 million people in North America snore while sleeping, which not only affects the quality of sleep of the person snoring, but also the quality of sleep of their loved ones and other family members.

What causes snoring?

Snoring can be the result of several factors. Typically, snoring is caused by the relaxing of the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth, making the air passage smaller. As a result, the decrease in space through the airway makes it harder for each breath to get through. Moreover, when it does get through, it moves over the soft tissues in the mouth and throat and causes a vibration that results in the snoring sound. Other causes of snoring may include:

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What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops periodically during sleep, as many as 20-30 times per hour. Firstly, each time you stop breathing in your sleep, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing.

Secondly, since the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it, and many believe they are getting a good night’s sleep when, in fact, they are not. Additionally, the constant wake-sleep, wake-sleep cycle prevents those with sleep apnea from achieving deep sleep, resulting in a constant drowsy feeling during the day.

What is a Mandibular Advancement Device?

If you snore at night, then a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may represent a solution and a better night’s sleep! In fact, the MAD is a specially designed dental device that gently helps keep the lower jaw, or mandible, in a forward position. As a result, it increases the space between the airway passage and helps you breathe better so you can get a full, quiet night’s sleep.

Is a MAD comfortable?

The answer is simple — YES! A mandibular advancement device is made to be comfortable so that you can sleep without even noticing you’re wearing it. In fact, it does not prevent you from breathing with your mouth open and will even eliminate snoring for patients with sinus congestion or allergies.

The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.

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Are there different types of sleep apnea?

There are three categories of sleep apnea. First, the most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. On the other hand, less common is central sleep apnea (CSA), in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don’t receive the proper signal from the brain. Additionally, some people suffer from “mixed” or “complex” sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central.

What are risk factors for sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in males than females, and more common in older adults (40+) than younger adults and children. However, it’s important to note that anyone — regardless of gender or age — can suffer from sleep apnea. Furthermore, other risk factors include obesity, smoking, drinking, use of sedatives or tranquilizers, and family history. On the flip side, central sleep apnea strikes most often in people with heart disorders, neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.

Is sleep apnea dangerous?

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical problem and if left untreated it can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. Moreover, the ongoing state of fatigue caused by sleep apnea can lead to problems at work or school, as well as danger when driving or operating heavy machinery. In addition, sleep apnea can also cause complications with medication or surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky, as can lying flat in bed after an operation.

How is sleep apnea treated?

Treatments for sleep apnea depend on the severity of each individual case, and the type of apnea. To begin with, basic treatment can be behavioral — for instance, patients are instructed to lose weight, stop smoking, or sleep on their sides instead of on their backs. Beyond that, oral devices can be used to position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage. However, in more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.

What should I do if I suspect that someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?

Contact our practice, and we can refer you to a sleep apnea specialist. First, the specialist may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the precise extent of the problem. Next, they can prescribe appropriate treatment. Depending on your specific situation, treatment may involve an oral device that we can custom-create for you.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. Moreover, in some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD. Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. Additionally, these joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Furthermore, pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.

Symptoms of TMD include:

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to let your doctor know as soon as possible. Your dentist can help determine the presence of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) and create an effective treatment plan specifically tailored to your individual needs.

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There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:

  • Relax your face — remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart”
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid constant gum chewing
  • Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver in your hand
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared


Improve hygiene habits and enjoy a gentle cleaning with our team.