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Where we do
“one size fits one” dentistry

Where we do
“one size fits one” dentistry

TMJ and sleep apnea

Do you have sleep apnea?

Do you snore?  Do you fall asleep easily during the day? Do you feel fatigued often? If so, you may have a sleep disorder. The medical world has ignored sleep issues for many years, yet we spend one-third of our lives sleeping. Dr. De Rosier has completed a mini-residency in sleep disorders at UCLA and has dedicated many more hours of study on the subject. That means you can feel confident and trust the professionals at Point Loma Comprehensive Dental with your sleep apnea treatment.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The word “apnea” means “without breath.” 

Symptoms include loud snoring, sudden awakenings accompanied by a choking or gasping sound, and excessive daytime sleepiness. TMJ disorder is also associated with this sleep disorder.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Misaligned teeth can cause sleep apnea by interfering with the alignment of the jaw and the airway. When the teeth are misaligned, the jaw may be positioned in a way that narrows or blocks the airway. This can lead to a condition called obstructive sleep apnea, in which the person’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep.

Misaligned teeth cause this by contributing to the development of other conditions that can obstruct the airway. For example, misaligned teeth can cause a person to breathe through their mouth, which can lead to a dry mouth and swelling of the tissues in the airway. Misaligned teeth can also cause a person to grind their teeth, which can lead to chronic facial pain and swelling of the airway.

Treating misaligned teeth can help improve the alignment of the jaw and the airway, which can help reduce the severity of the apnea and improve sleep quality.

How can Point Loma Comprehensive Dental help with your sleep apnea?

The current gold standard of treatment is continuous positive air pressure (CPAP), which is an air pump connected to a mask that you strap to your face at night. This keeps your upper airway open and prevents the throat from collapsing, which stops the flow of air to your lungs – which then causes you to wake up, thus preventing a good night’s sleep.

Many people struggle with CPAP machines because they are very loud and uncomfortable to wear. and end up seeking another solution. Dentists are often involved in the treatment of sleep apnea because the condition is often related to the position and alignment of the jaw and the airway.

Dr. De Rosier has found great success with designing oral appliances that are custom fabricated to hold the jaw forward and prevent the airway from collapsing. Dr. De Rosier may recommend the use of this type of mandibular advancement device (MAD), which is a mouthguard-like device that is worn during sleep. The MAD gently repositions the lower jaw and the tongue, helping to keep the airway open. In some cases, he may also recommend other treatments such as surgery to remove excess tissue from the airway, or weight loss to reduce tissue pressure on the airway.

In our endeavor to prevent problems, we can also evaluate children for airway development issues due to allergies, asthma, enlarged tonsils, and thumb/finger habits. These conditions can cause a narrowed airway, which can cause breathing problems later in life. Point Loma Comprehensive Dental can play an important role in the prevention of sleep apnea by providing specialized guidance from childhood through adolescence.

Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss sleep apnea treatment with Dr. De Rosier today.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and TMJ