Are there any side effects or complications to treatment?
As with any medical treatment, there are possible complications or side effects to dental sleep therapy. Considering the well-documented health risks of leaving Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) untreated, most of the side effects are minor in comparison. The three primary possible side effects of dental sleep therapy are tooth discomfort, TMJ (jaw joint) or muscular discomfort, and tooth movement or bite changes. Although other minor complications are possible, like salivation changes, these three issues encompass most of the concerns with dental sleep therapy.
- Tooth discomfort is the most likely complication of dental sleep therapy, but is also generally the least concerning. Dental sleep devices can put pressure on the teeth and may cause temporary soreness. If this does occur it can often be easily alleviated by adjustment of the dental sleep device. Research suggests that there is no evidence of long term tooth discomfort with properly fitted dental sleep devices.
TMJ (jaw joint) and muscle discomfort
- The majority of dental sleep devices work by moving the lower jaw forward to open the throat and collapsible airway. Due to this forward positioning of the jaw, there is a risk of TMJ (jaw joint) muscle discomfort. The dental sleep devices used by Dental Sleep Solutions® dentists are adjustable, so each device can be adjusted gradually to help achieve advancement with minimal discomfort. Long term muscle discomfort is rare. Short term discomfort is usually treated by adjusting the dental device to a more comfortable setting. On a rare occasions the device can continue to cause muscle soreness, and in this case simply not wearing the device will stop the muscle discomfort. Certain patients with existing TMJ (jaw joint) problems may not to be able wear dental devices, while other patients with TMJ (jaw joint) problems may actually improve their jaw problems by wearing a dental device. Your trained Dental Sleep Solutions® dentist will be able to help determine if you are a good candidate for dental device therapy. Click here to read more about TMJ (jaw joint) problems.
- Some dental sleep devices work by directly controlling the tongue, without moving the jaw. These devices have little or no affect on the jaw joint or the jaw muscles. If there are TMJ (jaw joint) concerns, Dental Sleep Solutions® dentists will help determine the dental device that best suits your needs.
Tooth Movement and Bite Changes
- The majority of dental sleep devices work by moving the lower jaw forward to open and maintain the collapsible airway during sleep. Due to this forward movement of the jaw, there are forces exerted on the teeth and on the jaw while wearing a dental device. These forces can cause teeth to move slightly, or the forces can cause the jaw to be repositioned which can change your bite. There are recommended jaw exercises that you can use for a few minutes each morning after wearing the dental sleep device that will help reset your bite. These exercises only take a few moments and they will greatly reduce the likelihood of permanent bite changes. Click here to read more about bite changes.
- Some dental sleep devices work by directly controlling the tongue without jaw advancement. Depending on the particular type of dental device, these devices have little to no affect on the bite. Your Dental Sleep Solutions® dentist can help to determine if one of these type appliances would be best for your particular situation.
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