For patients (and their spouses) who struggle with sleep apnea or snoring, mandible advancement devices such as morning repositioners that shift the jaw forward during sleep can make a major difference in sleep quality. Having the jaw shifted forward overnight can cause its own problems, however, including significant, lasting jaw pain. Fortunately, a quick use of a morning repositioner on a daily basis can provide relief of chronic and acute jaw pain caused by having the jaw lodged forward overnight – and prevent the permanent advancement of the lower jaw.
While it is possible to realign the jaw naturally after using a mandible advancement device by repeatedly clenching the jaw, morning repositioners accelerate the jaw’s relaxation process. A few gentle clenches over a short duration using a hands-free morning repositioner enables the jaw to gently slide backwards and into a centric position.
Importantly, morning repositioners enable the more-rapid restoration of the jaw’s natural resting state – which prevents pain associated with chewing and biting from an unnatural position. This effect of pain alleviation caused by bite changes is one of the biggest reasons that morning repositioners are highly recommended by the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, as Dr. Hartsfield points out.
“Patients need to seek out a dentist who is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. This is extremely important since these dentists have gone through countless hours of training in the specialty field and proved their capability to board,” Dr. Hartsfield advises.
Dentists who have received training from the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine “know how to treat patients properly with dental sleep devices”, they “know how to troubleshoot problems patients may have while being treated with these devices”, and they “know how to properly monitor patients with dental sleep devices”, Dr. Hartsfield continues.
When dentists don’t have the proper training from the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, that means they aren’t sufficiently credentialed to properly treat patients needing relief with dental sleep devices.
A number of significant, lasting problems can result from the improper prolonged use of these devices, Dr. Hartsfield explains. “There are many problems that can arise with the jaw if patients are not being treated correctly. As an Orofacial Pain specialist, I see a number of patients with jaw pain and problems who have been treated with dental sleep devices by other dentists, who are not a Diplomate, and patients who have ordered dental sleep devices online. This leads to permanent joint disorders.”
The muscles around the jaw are the strongest in the human body – and they form in accordance with the structure of the jaw of each individual. When tooth positions shift, the biting structure changes, causing acute and chronic jaw pain that can radiate into the surrounding tissues and contribute to additional medical complications and psychological distress. By working with a board-certified Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, patients can be fully assured that their short- and long-term comfort and safety is a priority.