TMJ & Sleep Apnea San Francisco
Dr. Samir Ayoub is one of a select few cosmetic dentists in the Bay Area with the education, training, and experience to treat sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint disorder. Dr. Ayoub has been serving patients from his San Francisco dental practice for over 40 years, and in that time, he has developed a wide range of solutions to help relieve pain and address the root cause of TMJ and sleep apnea. Read on to learn more about your TMJ and sleep apnea treatment options, and read our patient testimonials to see how Dr. Ayoub has used these treatments to help change the lives of his previous patients.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by the intermittent cessation of breath during sleep. There are a few different kinds of sleep apnea — one of them being obstructive sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the airway is blocked by excessive tissue in the back of the tongue, throat or nose. This compromises the natural breathing pattern and can cause up to 30 cessations in breath per minute. Individuals with sleep apnea often snore loudly or make gasping or choking noises as their body struggles to resume breathing.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may not know that you have it. You might not hear yourself snoring, and your breath can stop and restart without waking you up completely. However, you may notice other troubling side effects, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, anxiety or depression. These symptoms develop because your body is not getting the quality restful sleep it needs to function properly.
Sleep apnea is problematic because in addition to the side effects mentioned, it can put you at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious health conditions. Excessive daytime fatigue significantly increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents.
Sleep Apnea Treatment San Francisco
Though sleep apnea must be diagnosed by a sleep specialist, dentists are at the forefront of treatment. The goal of treatment is to clear whatever blocks the airway and prevents the normal passage of breath. Depending on the root of the problem, a few oral appliances can help. The first is a prosthetic that holds the tongue in a protruding position so it does not collapse against the back of the throat. The second type of appliance repositions the jaw so it doesn’t block the airway. These appliances can be fitted by a dentist or oral surgeon familiar with the individual patient’s case and treatment needs. Oral appliances are generally regarded as more convenient, comfortable and portable than the traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea in the Union Square / San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in exploring your oral appliance options, please contact Dr. Ayoub today and schedule a consultation.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects the lower jaw to the skull on either side of the head. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is any condition affecting the joint and complex network of muscles and nerves. TMJ problems can have different causes: Sometimes the disc in the jaw joint becomes displaced due to blunt trauma. Alternatively, sometimes aging can cause the joint to develop arthritis. Another cause is chronic stress that leads to tooth clenching or grinding that puts a burden on the joint.
TMD can manifest itself in myriad symptoms, the most common being pain in the jaw, face and/or head. It can also cause popping or clicking sounds when opening the jaw. Another serious implication of TMD is malocclusion (or an improper bite). TMD can throw off the way the upper and lower teeth fit together when the mouth is closed. When this happens, it can cause chronic headaches, tooth fracture and other problems.
TMJ can be diagnosed by several different types of medical professionals, including a dentist like Dr. Ayoub. Other doctors such as ear-nose-throat doctors can also be involved in the diagnosis and testing stage. Once diagnosis has been confirmed, the selected treatment depends on factors including the specific cause of the TMD. We work with Union Square and San Francisco TMJ patients to come up with a personalized TMJ treatment plan. Sometimes, making small lifestyle changes such as using heat or cold packs or limiting jaw movement can provide the necessary relief from symptoms. Muscle relaxers can help, too. If these strategies don’t work, your dentist may recommend the use of a special splint or mouth guard to reduce stress on the jaw and gently improve the bite. If Dr. Ayoub recommends appliance therapy for your case, he will help you select the best type based on your diagnostic tests and symptoms.
Contact Dr. Samir Ayoub Today
If you are experiencing what could be signs of either sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorder, Dr. Samir Ayoub invites you to call him. During a personal consultation, he can review your medical record, health history and symptoms with you; based on this information, he can refer you to a sleep specialist for diagnosis or confirm a TMJ diagnosis. Then, Dr. Ayoub can start treatment intervention to relieve your symptoms and put you on the path to a healthier and happier life. Call our office today at (415) 781-2227 to make an appointment.