Use DNA to Improve Snoring

shutterstock_346374167_720Did you know that 27.4% of Alaskans are sleep deprived?

As we discussed the connection between Sleep Apnea and TMD we touched on some ways that we could help you with snoring and sleep apnea problems. The newest tool in our arsenal is a DNA Appliance System. As one of only two certified providers in Alaska, we are proud to begin introducing this system to our state and helping nearly a third of our state to rest better.

So what is the DNA Appliance System?dna logo

Though your genes can be a factor in whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, in this instance we aren’t talking about Deoxyribonucleic acid or Ribonucleic acid. The Daytime-Nighttime Appliance (DNA) is a patented, FDA registered device that aims to correct the underlying issue instead of simply masking it. In combination with the mandibular Repositioning-Nighttime Appliance (mRNA) this system allows us to gently and non-surgically correct many of the issues that cause TMD, Sleep Apnea, snoring, and headaches.

The other method that we like to use to manage snoring and sleep apnea is a Mandibular Advancement Device. This simple protrudes your lower jaw in an effort to keep your airway from collapsing as you sleep. This device still has a firm place in our treatment line-up, but it does have some drawbacks. The biggest one being that it has to be worn over a lifetime.

A longer term solution is to use non-surgical airway remodeling of the upper airway so that the underlying issues can be fully resolved.

The DNA is worn during the evening and at night. It gently increases the size of your upper jaw over time. Which, in turn, increases the volume of the nasal airway. More volume means more air, less constriction, and more sleep.

The mRNA is worn at night. It corrects the position of your teeth and places them in a more natural position. It also increases the redevelops the upper airway. This combined approach helps to reduce TMD symptoms, headaches, and snoring in patients of all ages.

If you’re looking for a solution to your sleep issues that doesn’t involve surgery, drugs, pain, or injections, contact us today! We’d be happy to tell you more about the new option and see if it’s right for you.

What Is TMJ? Or Do You Have TMD?

More than fifteen percent of American adults live with some form of chronic facial pain like jaw pain, headaches, or earaches. About ten million of those people can attribute that pain to TMJ Disorders.

What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on each side of the head just in front of the ears. It is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. Along with muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones, your TMJ helps to make the different movements required for eating and talking.
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) covers multiple conditions that affect the TM joints. TMD can occur when your jaw opens, closes or moves from side to side. TMD pain can be experienced in the jaw joint as well as in the muscles that control your jaw’s movement.

What causes TMD?

Because the TMJ combines hinge action with sliding movement it is a complicated structure that is easily damaged. The areas of bone that interact with the joints are covered in cartilage and separated by small disks to absorb shock. This set-up normally keeps movement smooth. Erosion of the disks, slipping of the discs out of alignment, damage to the cartilage, or injury to the joint from a hard impact are all risks to joint’s efficiency.
There’s no definitive cause of TMD and it can be hard to pinpoint for each person, especially if there’s no problems in the joint itself. Symptoms can arise from problems with the joint or the muscles around it. Injury to your jaw, trauma in the muscles of your head and neck such as whiplash, teeth grinding, arthritis, improper bite, jaw dislocation, and stress can all be contributing factors.
Stress from heavy lifting or taxing situations can aggravate TMD because it generally causes you to clenching and grinding of the teeth.

What are the symptoms of TMD?
TMD affects nearly twice as many women as men and is most common women between the ages of 20 and 40.
Symptoms include:

  • Pain in or around your ear.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Dizziness
  • Aching facial pain.
  • Headaches and neck or shoulder aches.
  • Swelling on the side of your face.
  • A tired feeling in the muscles of your face.
  • Tenderness in your jaw.
  • Jaw pain that is worse in the morning or late afternoon.
  • Jaw pain while chewing, yawning, or biting.
  • Difficulty opening your mouth wide.
  • Jaws that get stuck or locked open.
  • Tooth sensitivity when no dental problems can be found.
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding noises when you open and close your mouth. This may not include pain.
  • Trouble chewing as if your upper and lower teeth aren’t fitting properly together anymore.

How do you know if you have TMD?
Because there is such a variety of symptoms and there are many other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, you should see your dentist for a diagnosis.
Your dentist will first want to rule out other causes such as tooth decay, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease.  Then she will ask you some questions about your health history and conduct a physical exam. During the exam she’ll check your joints for pain and tenderness, listen for clicks, pops, or grinding during movement, make sure your jaw doesn’t lock open or closed, and test your bite. If TMD is suspected you may need x-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan to get a more detailed picture of your joint and disc health.
In most cases discomfort from TMD will eventually go away with some simple self-care practices. If your symptoms aren’t going away, try to stick with conservative treatments. If irreversible treatments are recommended, make sure to get a second opinion first. We’ll cover these self-care practices and treatment options more in our next blog.