Snoring Devices

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How loud do you snore?

somnomedYou may or may not be aware that you snore, but either way, loud snoring could be an indication of a medical problem, as it takes place when your airway partially closes during sleep due to the relaxation of the neck muscles. If you snore frequently and loudly you may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is where the airways become partially or totally blocked for about 10 seconds at a time.

When breathing stops, the amount of oxygen getting to important parts of your body, such as your heart and brain, is reduced. As well as having a health aspect, if you snore loudly, it can also have an effect on your relationship, especially at night when your partner is trying to sleep.

Snoring can kill!

Recent studies have shown that heavy snorers can have up to a 600% increase in atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries just from the injury the vibrations cause.  The carotids supply blood to our brain. This risk is in addition to the risks of sleep apnea. Patients with untreated sleep apnea have a 600% increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.  In patients with previous heart attacks untreated sleep apnea is the greatest risk for repeat infarction and death.

What your snoring is telling you

Your snoring is a warning sign to you that you; snoring could be a symptom of sleep apnea, which can result in serious health issues. There are some snoring solutions that you can undertake yourself. If you are overweight, losing some weight may reduce its occurrence.

Smoking or drinking alcohol affects the soft tissues in your throat and they tend to relax more than usual which closes up your airways. The snoring remedy here is to give up smoking and reduce alcohol consumption, both of which may benefit you.

Though weight, smoking, and drinking can be factors, snoring can have a deeper, dental cause. If you do snore a lot you probably feel tired during the day as you haven’t been getting quality sleep. If you don’t do something about it’s going to affect your job and your family relationships.

Snoring and sleep apnea have been shown to be a major cause of divorce and marital strife.

Here’s the good news

Fortunately, there are dental snoring appliances available that you can use to make you and your partner’s life far more comfortable. We can help you choose a non-invasive anti-snoring orthotic mouthpiece or mouthguard that will help you to sleep better at night.  There is even an appliance (TAP) that has a volume control for your bed partner.  If your snoring a simple turn of the knob can turn off the noise.

There are several devices that can help prevent or reduce snoring. The first anti snoring aid is really designed for severe sleep apnea sufferers who snore loudly. This is called the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. It is a mask worn at night that pushes air into the lungs. It can be effective, but is also rather clumsy and can be noisy and uncomfortable.

A more comfortable snoring remedy, is the mandibular advancement appliance. There are over 100 types of FDA approved mandibular advancement appliances.   It is a plastic dental device worn over the lower and upper teeth that pushes the jaw forward allowing more space in the airway for breathing.

The Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) is an adjustable and comfortable appliance that we fit to suit the unique shape and size of your mouth. Its role is to prevent your airway from collapsing so that you breathe better, get more sleep and snore less.  It is the single most effective appliance available.

The Somnodent appliance by Somnomed is probably the most comfortable appliance.  It is one of several  dorsal fin mandibular advancement devices that allows free jaw movement.

The SUAD appliance is a modified Herbst appliance that uses hinges to allow jaw movement.  It is the most robust appliance for patients who break other appliances.

Stop the night time noise with snoring devices

As mentioned, snoring can have multiple causes; we can help to determine the cause of your snoring and whether a dental solution could be right for you.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

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Suffering from sleep problems like snoring and trouble breathing?

sleep-apnea-treatmentAre you having problems sleeping and keep waking up at night suddenly, as well as snoring loudly? You could have something called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is surprisingly common right across America. It can occur at any age and to either gender, but it is more common amongst older males.  Many patients have sleep apnea, sometimes severe but do not fit the typical pattern.

It is quite simply the narrowing or blockage of the airway while you are asleep. This means at times there is a restriction in the amount of oxygen you take into the lungs. The outcome of this could be trouble breathing and snoring.  Patients who have sleep apnea usually have a smaller airway when awake as well and are predisposed to apnea when their muscles are relaxed.  Patients with forward head posture or recessive chins are at greater risk for sleep apnea.

These are some typical symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Loud and persistent snoring
  • Persistent sleepiness during the day
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decrease in work efficiency
  • Morning headaches
  • Morning dry mouth
  • Needing to hit the snooze button on your alarm
  • difficult to control diabetes
  • Weight Gain or altered metabolism

What’s causing that sleep apnea?

Quite a lot of research has gone into finding out what causes sleep apnea. Some of the causes are listed below:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Thick necks
  • Acid reflux
  • Large tongues relative to the size of the mouth.
  • Sleeping on your back (supine)

What these tend to do is relax the muscles in your airway so much that it might become difficult for you to breathe. A dental solution may be available, in the form of some oral appliances which can help to let you get more sleep, but you may need to tackle lifestyle changes too.

A treatment that fits in the palm of your hand

An oral appliance can help with sleep apnea treatment, but does not cure the problem. It can help to relieve the symptoms and there are many available for you to choose from.

Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP)

This is a comfortable, adjustable mouthpiece, which helps to make sure your airway is kept open so that you can maintain correct breathing. The device pushes your lower jaw forward into such a position that the airway remains open.  Better breathing takes place with less snoring so you and your partner can get a decent night’s sleep.

The MAS – Dorsal Fin Device, made by SomnoMed

This is a custom-made oral appliance, which is made up of upper and lower dental plates with a specially designed fin-coupling piece allowing the mouth to open and close normally. This device helps to adjust your jaw level. This improves the comfort level and effectiveness of your treatment, as the jaw is only moved as far as is necessary to reduce sleep apnea and alleviate snoring so that you can sleep better.

Herbst Telescopic Appliance

This appliance may be effective if you are a chronic snorer and also have moderate to mild obstructive sleep apnea. This adjustable appliance should allow you to move your jaw both laterally and vertically, eliminating the necessity to disengage it. It is fitted onto your teeth with clasps, but friction helps to hold it in place too. If it is first positioned in the wrong place it can be removed and repositioned using shims to ensure a sufficient supply of oxygen reaches your lungs.

In some cases, we may recommend dental treatments such as orthodontics or a mouth reconstruction (with veneers, implants, and other treatments) to help treat your sleep problems

Could one of these work for you?

If after reading this you think there is a solution to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms, then you may need to have a thorough examination to determine what is the root cause of your sleep disorder. We may be able to help you breathe better and help reduce sleep disorder symptoms by fitting a suitable orthotic device.

Sleep Disorder Treatment

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Is lack of sleep or poor sleep impacting your life?

sleep-disorder-treatmentEveryone has a sleepless night on occasion, whether you’re waiting up for your teen to come home from a party or a pressing matter is making sleep elusive. However, when sleep evades you on a regular basis, it could be an indicator of a more serious problem and you may need sleep disorder treatment.

It is normal to wake up and feel great in the morning, if you are slow to wake or always feel you need more sleep or constantly hitting the snooze button on your alarm you probably are not having quality sleep.

When you find it difficult to sleep or your sleep is disrupted night after night, we recommend you take steps to determine if you have a sleep disorder and seek an effective remedy.

Signs a sleep disorder is in gear

While an occasional restless night or bout of sleeplessness is normal, chronic sleep deprivation can have serious consequences to your health, mood, and safety.

How do you know if your sleeplessness is an indication of something more serious? Here are a few signs to watch for:

  • Agitation during the day
  • Lack of concentration or short term memory loss
  • Feeling sleepy all the time
  • Feeling like you never get enough sleep, even when you go bed early and wake up late
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Mood swings and irritably
  • A rise in blood pressure
  • Gasping for breath in the night
  • Periods when you snore
  • Seeping in fits and spurts, waking suddenly
  • Marital discord due to poor communication

If you find yourself struggling with any of these issues, getting to the root of your problem will help you find effective treatment.

The consequences of poor sleep or sleeplessness

Inadequate sleep over a prolonged period of time can have a negative impact on your health. People who are deprived of sleep on a long term basis are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression. Obesity is another consequence of unhealthy sleep as disruptions in sleep patterns slow the body’s metabolism and cause weight gain that is hard to reverse.

Your body requires sleep to recharge, rejuvenate, and keep all systems functioning at optimal levels. Good Sleep is at the core of an anti-aging medical protocol.

Could sleep apnea be hijacking your sleep?

Over 40 million Americans are fighting with some type of sleep-related problem. While there is a broad range of conditions that can affect the quality of your sleep, sleep apnea has been getting a lot of attention in recent years.

Sleep apnea involves the obstruction of your airway during sleep. In the most severe cases, people have been known to experience bouts when they do not breathe as often as 400 times a night. Each time your breath stops, your brain jerks you awake to restart your breathing. The resulting sleep and oxygen deprivation is what causes the serious health risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring can be an indicator of sleep apnea, it may also be a sign of a milder airway restriction although it is never a harmless problem. Sometimes snoring is more disturbing to significant others than the one who snores. The spouse of snorers can lose as much as 15% of their sleep. Snoring can cause serious medical problems over time in some people including carotid atherosclerosis or blockage of blood flow to the brain

Get back to sleep with sleep disorder treatment

When you are dealing with an issue that is getting in the way of your sleep, it’s important to diagnose the specific problem and find a cure or treatment.

The good news about sleep apnea is it’s treatable. Many times making simple changes to your habits could bring about a good night’s rest.

  • Try establishing a regular pattern at night, going to bed at the same time on a daily basis and doing relaxing activities before bed
  • Stop eating and don’t drink drink alcohol several hours before bed. This will settle your digestive system and stop your throat muscles from over relaxing
  • Lose weight
  • Practice relaxation techniques and exercise during the day to relieve stress

If home remedies do not help, plan a visit to Dr. Shapira to investigate if a custom or commercial sleep airway orthotic, TMJ treatment or epigenetic orthodontics could get you back to healthy sleep. Epigenetic orthodontics can cure sleep apnea by growing a larger airway, a process called pneumopedics.

TMJ Treatment

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How TMJ is treated by a dentist

tmj-treatment3Finding the reason behind the pain that you feel is the best method for a dentist to determine how to treat your condition. Though many patients assume that all type of TMJ treatment are the same, treatments vary significantly from patient to patient.  There are a wide variety of TMJ disorders and frequently there are multiple factors to account for.  Your TMJ problem may be as individual as you are.

The discomfort that you feel typically relates to the way your condition affects your body.

With TMJ, a patient’s nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons all function in less than ideal ways that causes the patient to feel uncomfortable or in pain. Your dentist will work with you to determine which combination of  remedies and treatments will bring you the most relief.  Dr Shapira is your partner in finding your path to the life you deserve.

TMJ treatment phases

When Dr Shapira determines your diagnosis of TMJ or associated disorders, he will describe the three different phases of treatment. The first phase is the most important phase which is to restore your quality of life as quickly as possible.  It involves non-invasive procedures that do not require surgery. Those treatments can include orthotics, physical therapy and other non surgical TMJ treatment options as well as minimally invasive procedures such as trigger point injections, prolotherapy or SPG (spenopalatine ganglion ) blocks. Orthotics may include a diagnostic physiologic orthotic, nocturnal bite splints, pivotal appliances for TMJ locking or other modalities such as an Aqualizer that uses a basic law of physics to equalize pressure on both joints and relax the musculature.  The second  phase is long -term management after pain relief is accomplished.  It is all about maintaining comfort for life.

Phase 1

Fotolia_35843554_XS2This phase of TMJ treatment is all about restoring your quality of life.  Dr Shapira will dissect your problems to answer each of the problems that make up your specific issues.  The mainstay of Physiologic Dentistry is a diagnostic orthotic, a device that lets you experience the life improving results before committing to extensive treatment.  Patients are told to expect 50-80% improvement within just 2-3  visits.  There is no “ultimate cure” for TMJ but many patients experience almost miraculous cures while other patients have a longer road to reach their goals.  The use of behavior modification, which teaches you how to do simple daily activities without causing additional pain or discomfort is often needed initially but are goal is a complete return to normal function.  Dr Shapira will make you his partner as the guardian of your health and welfare putting you in charge of your future health!

Simple TMJ jaw exercises can  provide relief for some patients but others require guided treatment to relieve the pressure on your nerves can lead to increased pain. Just  strengthening  the muscles in your jaw is not a promise of success.  The creation of an environment where healing occurs is actually the most important aspect of treatment.  We use our jaws twenty-four hours a day for breathing, eating, talking, kissing and to maintain proper postural health.  Dr Shapira builds that healthy bite into your diagnostic orthotic.

Phase 2

Phase two is embarked on when you are feeling good and your body has had a chance to heal.  There is no “Cure” for TMJ because you have changed due to your months or years of pain.  A cure would entail a do over on the part of your life lost to pain.  I want you to have the best life possible moving forward where TMJ and MPD do not adversely affect your life.  Many patients feel as if they are “Cured” but they are not the same as if they never had a problem to begin with.

This phase of TMJ treatment includes the use of occlusal equilibration or coronoplasty for some patients.  This is minute adjustments to the bite to make it function better.  Other patients may require orthodontics or reconstruction to achieve long term stability.  Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth when necessary.  Phase two can utilize cast onlay orthotics, partials or dentures.

Bruxism which occurs when you grind your teeth at night may require treatment with a night appliance to protect the muscles, joints, teeth as well as the restorations.

The use of other orthodontics can reduce your discomfort and give you a healthier bite.  This can be through standard orthodontic procedures.  The DNA Appliance is an exciting and more comfortable alternative to braces that is worn during sleep and a few additional hours a day.  It allows us to grow your jaws to a more ideal size and shape while permanently correcting your bite.

Crowns, also known as caps, let the dentist repair damaged teeth and reduce the gaps between teeth, while braces are a good option for those with healthy teeth who still suffer some pain.  A full mouth restoration can restore your entire mouth in just a few visits and is an exceptional treatment for many cases.  Due to the cost many patients feel they cannot afford this treatment but financing can make it available in affordable monthly payments.

Phase 3

The majority of patients never need this phase.  The goal of phase 1 and 2 treatment is to avoid temporomandibular joint surgery whenever possible.  Orthognathic surgery is also a phase 3 treatment that can create an ideal situation but carries significant risk.  The DNA appliance can comfortably create orthopedic growth without surgical intervention in may patients.

This phase of TMJ treatment is the most invasive option and typically requires some form of surgery. If the dentist can determine the root cause of your pain, the doctor can do microscopic TMJ surgery, which lets the dentist carefully repair a damaged joint or nerve from an incision made in an out of the way spot.

If you suffer from lock jaw, which is one of the more common symptoms of the condition, your dentist may recommend arthrocentesis. With this procedure, the doctor places needles inside the affected joint and pushes a saline solution through the needles. The liquid slowly works its way through the jaw and loosens the joint and surrounding cartilage. Other forms of surgical intervention can give you some pain relief.

Need to know more?

tmj-questionsA TMJ orthotic is almost alway the starting point for therapy.  Surgery is rarely the first option but in the case of severe degenerative changes it must sometimes be considered.  TemporalMandibular Joint surgery should always be approached cautiously.  Almost all patients can be managed without surgery.  The longer that you live with your condition, the more work you need to do towards repairing your mouth and jaw. While surgery is one option, it’s often the last resort.

Remember Quality of life is your most important outcome.

Your dentist will suggest that you use jaw strengthening exercises, bite plates and other remedies before recommending jaw surgery, braces, tooth grinding or crowns. To learn more about TMJ and the best treatments for the condition, download a copy of my e-book today.