William Harper, DDS
I have spent many years working with physicians to help patients find relief from TMJ pain, discomfort, and soreness in the joints and muscles around the head, face, and neck. In most cases, we were able to help resolve problems that had persisted in a patient’s life for many years.
A few years ago, I began to see new patients who complained of TMJ pain, or related problems, that started when their dentist made them oral appliances to treat their obstructive sleep apnea. These patients had jaw pain, bite changes, and were completely surprised by the changes. I was very concerned about these appliances and the “missing connection” or “missing knowledge” between TMJ issues and an oral appliance that was meant to hold or even stretch the jaw forward, working against the natural function of the joints and muscles of chewing.
Many of these patients would ask me if I would make them a new oral appliance that did not have the side effects they were experiencing. New patients would start to ask me if I knew how to get an oral appliance, as they desperately wanted to get help for their obstructive sleep apnea and they simply could not use CPAP.
I spent many months investigating these oral appliances, and exactly if or how oral appliances could be beneficial without so much risk. I started working with a group of mentors who were very knowledgeable about craniofacial medicine, the TMJ, and sleep breathing disorders including OSA, and finally found some answers.
Today, we have helped many people get back their quality of life, find better sleep, and are ‘allowed” to sleep in the same room as their spouse again! There is still a lot of knowledge to be gained in the world of Sleep Disordered Breathing, and we are proud to be leading the way for residents of the Peninsula and Williamsburg.
Sleep, activity, and nutrition are equally and vitally important, but sleep has been overlooked for too long. It is time that the importance of sleep in our everyday lives, health, and well-being gets the attention it deserves. And those suffering the undesirable side effects of OSA and Sleep Disordered Breathing receive research-based treatment from a qualified team.