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Dr. Eddie Siman - Sherman Oaks TMJ Expert

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Apneic Events and TMJ Disorders

Sherman Oaks sleep apnea model with trouble sleeping

What is sleep apnea?

Apnea is the sudden stoppage of respiratory airflow, which can lead to a lack of blood getting transported to the brain and no oxygen to fill the lungs. Sleep apnea, therefore, occurs when you're asleep and unconscious, unable to respond to the blockage in your throat. The body does tend to wake up if there is an apneic event, though.

What are apneic events?

Apneic events are periods of time during which there is no airflow, caused by a blockage in the throat. Apneic events are defined by their length, but there have been alterations over the years by the medical community. Now, apneic events occur if individuals have a lack of airflow for 30 seconds or longer (20 if there is also a reduced heart rate or a bluish discoloration of the skin).

How many apneic events can happen during sleep?

It is common for people suffering from sleep apnea to have up to four apneic events per hour. Some have many more, though – even dozens over the course of the night. The number depends on the severity of many factors, but ultimately, the goal is to reduce the number of apneic events to something that is within the range of normal.

What are the effects of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is not a simple condition. It carries heavy consequences and can make daily living as frustrating as can be – not to mention how much of an impact it can have on your quality of sleep. For many, they suffer the following:

  • Chronic daytime fatigue, which can cause all sorts of social issues. You may fall asleep at work, at random times of the day, or most dangerously, while driving. You may develop mood disorders, irritability, and anger issues. Your body will also not get the restoration it needs at night, leaving you weaker and with a lower baseline functionality throughout the day.
  • Stressful relationships with partners, as the repeated apneic events can disturb a partner and cause them to leave the room. This can impact their own sleep quality and cause the relationship to become strained.
  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure, which happens because of the sudden and repeated dips in oxygen levels. The cardiovascular system will be under duress, and you'll run an increased risk of heart-related issues, such as heart attacks, arrhythmia, and more.
  • Type-2 diabetes, as insulin resistance will raise.

Many sleep apnea complications are related to one another. For example, metabolic issues, increased cholesterol, liver problems, and obesity are all connected to sleep apnea. The condition worsens the problems, and it's imperative that you do what you can to get it under control. The fewer apneic events you suffer each night, the more likely it is that you can get your health under control.

How do TMJ problems affect sleep apnea?

Jaw pain from TMJ disorders

TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain and sleep apnea. Photo by
Engin Akyurt on Unsplash.

TMJ issues involve the jaw joints and their alignment. Because the joints are misaligned, the tongue may sit further back in the mouth than normal. During the relaxation of the body during sleep, the tongue will then fall back and block the throat, whether partially or completely. OSA, or complete airway obstruction (obstructive sleep apnea), is often a direct result of TMJ problems. You may suffer numerous apneic events because of a misaligned jaw.

How can a TMJ expert fix sleep apnea?

If the cause of your sleep apnea is related to a misaligned jaw or other issue with the temporomandibular joint, Dr. Eddie Siman can help. Depending on the severity of your misalignment, you may not have a need for an invasive surgery or an extreme procedure. You also may not need to invest in a CPAP machine (which has been the primary treatment for some years).

We offer oral devices specifically fitted to your jaw that can help deal with apneic events. The devices are worn when you sleep and they push your jaw forward, giving your tongue more room to rest in a natural position and not fall back to block your airway.

Patients generally prefer this kind of treatment for a number of reasons.

  • Customization: The oral devices are custom-fitted to your mouth, so your jaw will be properly aligned. There is no one-size-fits-all that may not actually conform to your mouth. We take care to fit each device specifically for every patient.
  • Non-invasive: The oral device does not require any surgery or treatment, nor is it a permanent fixture in your mouth. You essentially treat it as you would a mouth guard or retainer, and you remove it each morning upon waking up.
  • Quiet: CPAP machines used to be quite loud, but technology has progressed to the point that they now sound like soft fans. However, many individuals still have trouble with the sound when trying to fall asleep, as do partners. An oral device does not make any sound whatsoever, so there is no danger of being woken up or disturbing your partner with the sounds of a machine.

What's the process for getting an oral device for sleep apnea?

The process is simple. When you visit our office, we'll take a CT-scan of your jaw and take measurements. We'll go through an in-depth consultation with you to see if there are other symptoms or effects from a misaligned jaw. TMJ treatments depend on many personal factors, so we will get as much information as we can from you to determine the best path forward.

After the evaluation, we'll fit you with an oral orthotic you can wear at night to help ease the apneic events. Over time, the orthotic will passively work to align the jaw. We'll monitor the progress throughout and will keep you updated when you come in for check-ups.

Contact Dr. Eddie Siman Today for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dr. Eddie Siman is one of the leading experts in the TMJ field. He's helped hundreds of patients deal with sleep apnea caused by TMJ-related problems. All treatments are holistic and customized to the needs of every individual patient.

Contact us today for more information on sleep apnea and getting fitted for an oral device. We can schedule you for a consultation and get you started on getting back to a normal sleep schedule so you can be fully restored each night.

No one should have to suffer through the night from sleep apnea. Don't hesitate to reach out to us today to start your treatment.

Dr. Eddie Siman has over 35 years of experience and is a premier TMJ and Sleep Apnea expert in Los Angeles and Orange County. Many come to Dr. Eddie Siman with severe tinnitus, migraine problems, and sleep apnea with no relief in sight. Little do these patients know that their painful symptoms are tied to the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Think outside the box and pay a simple visit to Dr. Siman today so you can finally find the source of all your pain and get rid of it once and for all.

14629 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423