Oral Appliances

Whether for protection or correction, oral appliances go by many names. Each situation or condition requires customized treatment that fits the individual’s set of circumstances. Here are the most common reasons to consider an oral appliance:

For the Athletes in the Family: Is It Time For a Mouth Guard?

Contact sports like football, hockey, boxing, and karate put athletes at risk for mouth, dental and facial injuries. Even non-contact sports like basketball, gymnastics and skating can include incidental contact that can be dangerous to teeth.

One of the easiest ways to protect teeth, face, tongue, lips and jaw is to wear a mouth guard during sports. If you or your child participates in a sport, a custom mouth guard can save on expensive dental work caused by impact.

After a tooth is traumatized, the following situations can occur:

  • No apparent damage to the tooth
  • The tooth becomes loose
  • Crown fracture
  • Root fracture
  • Tooth dislocation
  • Intrusion of the tooth (displacement of a tooth further into the bone)
  • Avulsion of the tooth (the entire tooth being knocked off)

A custom mouth guard is made specifically to fit your mouth. When braces or bridge work are present, a mouth guard is essential to protecting your cheeks and lips from any cuts that your hardware could cause if you get hit in the face.

Do You Suspect Sleep Apnea?

The symptoms accompanying sleep apnea can include:

  • Sleepy, tired and/or fatigued during the day
  • Snoring
  • Witnessed Episodes of Cessation of Breathing During Sleep
  • Overweight, High Blood Pressure, Tooth Grinding
  • Non-restorative sleep (wake up tired)
  • Overweight, High Blood Pressure, Tooth Grinding
  • Non-restorative sleep (wake up tired)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Headaches
  • GERD (Gastro Esophagial Reflux Disease)

Detection. Sometimes a partner will notice that you stop breathing for several seconds multiple times during your sleep. Sometimes this is accompanied by snoring. Before definitive treatment is done a sleep study is required to determine if you have it and how mild or severe it is. That will determine the course of treatment.

Treatment. The common medical treatment is to wear a face mask connected to a machine that pumps air into the mouth and nose, called a continuous positive airway pressure machine or CPAP machine. In some cases, oral appliances can be used in combination with the C-Pap or as a sole therapy. In almost all cases a sleep doctor’s prescription is required by insurance companies for coverage of treatment.

Checking for Sleep Apnea is part of our examination protocol for all patients. Dr Pete can refer you for a sleep study and if appropriate, make you a Sleep Appliance.

TMJ Disorder and Neck, Head and Facial Pain

What is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw, called the mandible, to the bone at the side of the head—the temporal bone. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and open your mouth, you can feel the joints. Because these joints are flexible, the jaw can move smoothly up and down and side to side, enabling us to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control its position and movement.

A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain, particularly in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint, is the most common symptom. Other likely symptoms include:

  • Radiating pain in the face, jaw, or neck
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Limited movement or locking of the jaw
  • Painful clicking, popping or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

Dr. Pete has been successfully treating TMJ conditions for over 35 years, most commonly with one or a series of custom-fit appliances.

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