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 us 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.
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, your dentist 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.
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.