Treating Sleep Disorders at the Dentist – Myth or Reality?

Dr. Shapira Blog, Sleep 0 Comments

sleep_disordersDo you unintentionally fall asleep, nod off behind the wheel, or find it hard to focus on your work because of a constant state of sleepiness? You could be suffering from one of the many sleep disorders Chicago specialists diagnose every year, the same disorders estimated by CDC to plague the lives of 50-70 millions of Americans.

If not getting enough sleep or feeling exhausted all the time do not seem such a big deal, remember that sleep insufficiency is not only a common cause for car crashes, industrial disasters, medical and various occupational errors, but also for more serious health problems.

Sleep disorder sufferers are predisposed to diabetes, hypertension, depression, obesity, and cancer, not to mention that their productivity and quality of life are significantly reduced. These should be more than enough reasons to convince anyone showing sleep disorder symptoms to seek diagnosis and, if necessary, specialized treatment.

Most Common Sleep Disorders Chicago Clinics Treat and Their Symptoms

There are several sleep disorders, some more serious and difficult to treat than others. Out of them, the following four are the most popular.

1. Insomnia

It takes two forms: sleep onset insomnia, when patients have a hard time falling asleep, and maintenance insomnia, when patients wake up and can no longer go back to sleep. Depending on severity and duration, insomnia can be acute (caused by stress, traumatic events, or family pressures and lasting up to a few weeks), chronic (caused by an underlying problem or various medicines and lasting up to several months), or maintenance insomnia (linked to some other sleep disorder, like restless legs or apnea).

2. Narcolepsy

It involves sudden sleep episodes, often associated with vivid dreams or hallucinations. Specialists believe it is caused by low Hypocretin levels. Although there is no cure available, patients can live a life close to normal with adequate medication and lifestyle changes.

3. Restless Legs Syndrome

The uncontrolled urge to move one’s legs is caused by sensations like creeping, itching, crawling, pulling, burning, tingling, or aching. These sensations can affect the arms as well, and will prevent the sufferer from falling asleep. The restless legs syndrome can get worse when associated with the upper airways resistance syndrome. Treatments involve combinations of lifestyle changes and medication.

4. Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleep apnea appears when the airway is obstructed and the patient stops breathing, waking up suddenly. It often goes undiagnosed and is in many cases associated with snoring. The most effective treatments include CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), sleep orthotics, or surgery.

Seeking Treatment: Look for a Sleep Clinic in Chicago or See a Dentist?

Sleep disorders can only be treated in sleep clinics, right? Wrong! Believe it or not, many sleep disorders are caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues. The joints connecting your lower jaw to the skull may not function properly and cause pain, discomfort, noises such as joint clicking, grinding, or popping, or bite misalignment. These problems, in turn, can affect your airways, and lead to the above-mentioned sleep disorders.

While finding a reliable sleep clinic, making an appointment, getting a diagnosis, and receiving adequate treatment there can be tiresome and expensive, you could get the relief you need much faster by making an appointment with a reputable sleep dentist in Chicago. These specialists combine physiologic dentistry with dental sleep medicine and use last hour diagnostic and clinical protocols to help patients enjoy the restful sleep they deserve and need.

Why put up with sleep deprivation and compromise your health, safety and productivity, when you could be just a few clicks away from the solution to your sleep problems? Dr. Ira Shapira has been diagnosing and treating TMJ related sleep disorders in Chicago for years, with excellent results. Make an appointment now and kiss your sleep problems goodbye!…

TMJ Sleep Disorders

Dr. Shapira Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Mettawa, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disorders, Sleep Disorder, TMJ and sleep disorders, Vernon Hills, Wilmette, Winnetka 0 Comments

TMJ sleep disorders

tmj-sleep-disorders-chicagoThe TMJ (abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint) connects the jawbone to the skull. Located in front of the ears on each side of the head, the joint is cushioned by a soft disk that allows it to move smoothly. Disorders of the TMJ can lead to a variety of problems, some of which might not seem to have anything to do with the jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

TMJ can be related to sleep problems

The connection between TMJ and sleep disorder is often overlooked, but it has been evidenced in research.

Obstructed-AirwayTMJ problems can be affected by sleep position, breathing patterns, and other factors that happen when we sleep, which can make it difficult for an individual to realize that anything is wrong – until they wake up with a headache, dizziness, or feeling tired. Problems in your jaw may be the last thing you’d associate with sleep problems, but the evidence of the connection is overwhelming.

A 2009 study on sleep disorders and TMJ disorders concluded that people who have TMJ disorder should be referred to sleep specialists because of the likelihood that they suffer from a sleep disorder. TMJ can cause snoring, and snoring is one of the primary symptoms of sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder in which the person literally stops breathing many times during their sleep. TMJ patients with sleep apnea could find greater relief by getting treatment for both of these issues.

Treatments for Sleep Apnea and TMJ Sleep Disorders

tmj-cpapPeople who are diagnosed with sleep apnea usually sleep while using a CPAP, a forced air machine that requires wearing a device that fits over the nose and mouth. Other sleep apnea patients opt for an oral appliance that keeps the airway in the throat open during sleep.

While some patients tolerate sleeping with these types of devices well, others find them cumbersome, particularly the CPAP device. Oral appliances are often successfully used by people who cannot tolerate a CPAP, but they generally only work in mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea.

It is recommended that treatment for TMJ disorder be conservative. Simple things that you can do yourself can help, such as sleeping on your side instead of on your back, avoiding gum chewing and avoiding cradling a phone when you talk. Invasive treatments, such as injections or procedures that change the structure or shape of the jaw, are generally only performed in cases that involve major facial trauma.

TMJ symptoms can affect anyone, children, and adults alike

The highest risk of TMJ disorders is in women between the ages of 20-40.

tmj-yawningAnyone who is experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ disorder, including headaches, especially those that are persistent; ear ache; neck pain or stiffness; sensitivity to light; loose or worn down teeth or tooth pain; facial pain; difficulty chewing; clicking sounds when chewing; locking jaws; or jaw pain or tenderness, might be able to find relief in TMJ treatment.

If you wake up feeling tired even though you’ve had plenty of sleep, wake up with a headache, or if you know you have sleep apnea, insomnia or other sleep problems, it is possible that a TMJ problem could be a contributing factor.

TMJ symptoms or sleep disorders can be best treated by someone with knowledge and experience in TMJ and how it relates to sleep and proper breathing. If you suffer from symptoms of TMJ or sleep disorder, or believe there may be a connection between your sleep and TMJ, contact our office for more information or to make a consultation appointment.