The Seattle Protocol: How Six Simple Steps Could Help You Sleep Better (and Even Save Your Life)

By: Elizabeth Eggert

The Seattle Protocol: It’s not an action flick coming soon to a theater near you. But it is something that could save you from a restless night’s sleep. At Eggert Family Dentistry, that’s something to get excited about!

The Seattle Protocol was pioneered by two intrepid dentists in the Seattle, Washington, area. The six-step process helps patients who struggle with obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disordered breathing conditions like upper airway resistance syndrome. Sleep apnea is a condition where the epiglottis—the soft area at the back of the throat—or the tongue relax during sleep, obstructing the airway. Upper airway resistance syndrome is a condition in which your body is working so hard to keep your airway open, it creates an incredible amount of stress and releases high amounts of cortisol, creating excessive amounts of inflammation.

For some, thinking of sleep apnea conjures up visions of a restless night’s sleep and CPAP machines. While these are certainly the experiences of some patients with this condition, the Seattle Protocol can help many patients with sleep disordered breathing determine if an airway compromise is contributing to their ailments.

Seattle Protocol Step 1: Nose Breathing and Mouth Taping
The first step in the Seattle Protocol is to gently train your body to breathe through your nose, not your mouth. Breathing through your mouth during sleep can lead to snoring and dry mouth. The Seattle Protocol encourages nose breathing by adding a strip of paper tape vertically across the center of your lips. The light adhesive of the tape keeps your lips together but is easy and painless to remove.

Step 2: Temporary Splint for Lower Jaw and Mouth Taping
Once you’ve adjusted to the mouth taping, the second step of the protocol adds a temporary splint for your lower jaw while you sleep. Adding this splint increases the vertical dimension of your jaw and allows more airway space.

Step 3: Temporary Splint for Lower Jaw with Lower Jaw Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping
If adding the lower splint only isn’t giving you the restful sleep you deserve, we move onto the next stage of the protocol. In this step, we add an element that pulls your lower jaw forward. This realigns your jaw and increases your airway space not only vertically, but horizontally as well. This also can give your tongue more of the space it requires.

Step 4: Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Mouth Taping
With all steps of the Seattle Protocol, if you aren’t getting relief from the previous step, we move on. In this step, we remove the forward jaw posturing component and add a splint for your upper jaw. You then go to sleep with splints on your upper and lower teeth and your jaw is free to move. This stage allows for additional vertical height, opening up your airway, but without restricting the jaw muscles into any one strict position.

Step 5: Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Lower Jaw Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping
If you need to continue in the protocol, step five again adds a horizontal component by linking the upper and lower splints together and moving the lower jaw forward. The intent, as always, is to continue to open your airway more and more.

Step 6: Temporary Splint for Lower and Upper Jaw with Lower Jaw Progressively Pulled Forward and Mouth Taping
If you still aren’t getting that good night’s sleep, we move to the final stage of the Seattle Protocol. In this stage, we keep moving your lower jaw forward, incrementally, until you feel well-rested.

While there are six steps in the Seattle Protocol, you may not necessarily go through the entire process. The purpose of the protocol is to help us understand which step provides the best relief. Typically, the further you progress in the process, the more help your airway needs. If we find that you only get positive results in steps 4, 5, or 6, then looking at oral surgery options to expand your airway might be the best long-term solution. Luckily, here in North Oaks, we are able to set you up with some of the best local orthodontists and oral surgeons to manage your situation.

The Seattle Protocol is a gradual, gentle, and reversible process that helps us identify solutions for our patients with airway issues. It not only can help you get a better night’s sleep, but it can lead to an excellent path to better overall health and wellness. If you snore, spend your nights tossing and turning, have anxiety or depression, have acid reflux, or just simply feel tired all the time, call us to schedule a consultation, 651-482-8412. We may recommend starting with the Seattle Protocol to help improve your life!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and How a Mandibular Advancement Device Could Help

Ever wonder why you’re still drowsy after a full night’s sleep, have a headache in the morning, or wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air? Alone, each one of these symptoms could mean you are sleep deprived, imbibed a bit too much the night before, or had a nightmare. But together, they (along with several other symptoms) may be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tongue or throat muscles relax, partially or completely blocking the upper airway. This makes the chest and diaphragm muscles work harder to open the airway, which in turn taxes the heart. It also reduces the flow of oxygen throughout the body. Here’s a great overview of what obstructive sleep apnea is and why it’s a problem for your sleep quality, daytime alertness, and heart.

Unfortunately, many people with sleep apnea don’t realize they have the condition, at least not at first. Patients with sleep apnea may have fitful sleep. But the tossing and turning may not wake them up. All they know is that they have trouble waking up in the morning, have a headache, and are struggle to stay awake during the day. If that describes you, we encourage you to see your physician to get tested OR we can do many of the initial screenings right at our dental office!

An Oral Sleep Appliance Called a Mandibular Advancement Device Could Help
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend an oral sleep appliance. The official name of the appliance is a mandibular advancement device. We fit mandibular advancement devices at Eggert Family Dentistry and have been able to help many people with this life-threatening condition.

A mandibular advancement device positions the lower jaw slightly forward. Doing so also moves the tongue forward, reducing the chance of an obstructed airway. Take a look at how this type of oral appliance works:

If your doctor recommends a mandibular advancement device, give us a call to schedule your consultation. We’ll take impressions of your mouth so we can custom-design your appliance just for you. Once it’s ready, we’ll ask you to come into our office for a fitting so we can calibrate it so it’s comfortable and effective.

If you’re wondering if you may have sleep apnea, it’s time to make two calls: one to your physician and another to Eggert Family Dentistry. Contact us today to schedule your mandibular advancement device consultation.

Having Trouble Sleeping? Maybe it’s Time to See Your Dentist

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How often do you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed? If you frequently wake up unrefreshed and navigate your day in a haze, feeling like quality sleep is eluding you, you are not alone. In fact, according to a poll conducted by YouGov, only 1 in 7 Americans wake up feeling refreshed every day of the week. If you’re fed up with trying (yet failing!) to get consistent quality sleep maybe it’s time to call your dentist. That’s right – your dentist! At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recognize the frequent connection between sleeplessness and dentistry and we want to take some time to tell you about it!

When our patients complain about “bad sleep” we pay particular attention to their teeth and jaw. What state is their enamel in? If the enamel is worn down it’s either a sign that our patient is grinding their teeth in their sleep – a condition known as bruxism – or indicative of acid erosion, possibly from an airway issue. We also observe our patient’s jaw – does it seem properly aligned or is it misaligned which could lead to snoring or sleep apnea? Both of these conditions result in poor sleep both for our patient and perhaps their bedmate. If we suspect that snoring, sleep apnea, or other sleep disordered breathing is the culprit for you, we will ask you questions regarding your recent well-being: Do you ever wake up with a dry mouth? Do you suffer from insomnia? How often do you feel fatigued all day long? As well as many more that provide insight into what might be occurring for you.

An accurate diagnosis is imperative to successful treatment. Either Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will proceed with a full clinical evaluation of your mouth. We examine your teeth, jaw, tongue, tonsils and airway and order x-rays for up-to-date images of your entire mouth structure. We may also recommend you take home our home sleep screening test which collects data in much the same manner as a professional sleep lab. Depending on the results, we may recommend you take your report to your MD for further testing. Whereas previously the only solution for sleep apnea was a CPAP machine – a loud, humming machine with an attached sleep mask that supplies a steady stream of humidified air through the patient’s airway all night long – many dentist offices now offer another, less-cumbersome solution. Similar to a sports or orthodontic retainer, at Eggert Family Dentistry, we facilitate the creation of a custom-fit oral appliance that properly sets the jaw for sleep and helps maintain an open airway all night long. Not only does this prevent sleep apnea but it is also an excellent solution for chronic snoring.

The effects of getting better sleep cannot be underestimated! From increased productivity during your waking hours to garnering more enjoyment from your daily life and experiencing more fulfillment in your relationships, quality sleep is foundational. 

If you are having trouble sleeping and would like to speak with a dental professional at Eggert Family Dentistry, we would love to connect with you! Give us a call at 651.482.8412 or connect with us online.

TMJ and Its Link to Headaches and Sleep Apnea

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Most everyone suffers from throbbing headaches at some point in their lives. But when headaches are chronic, it’s a cause for concern. Also, most everyone has now heard of sleep apnea, a serious condition in which the body pauses breathing or takes shallow, short breaths while sleeping, but is there a link between the two?

These conditions may seem unrelated, but new research has found a connection between chronic headaches and sleep apnea and TMJ disorder. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, connects your upper and lower jaws. When it is properly aligned, it works silently and seamlessly. When it’s not, it causes pain, soreness, and an off-center bite. People with severe TMJ disorder have trouble sleeping and can even experience lockjaw. Now, studies show TMJ disorder can cause more serious health concerns, too.

The Link between TMJ Disorder and Headaches
When the TMJ is not working properly, the muscles that stabilize the joint work overtime to support it. These muscles get fatigued, which leads to pain. If untreated, this pain can radiate from the jaw to the temples, back of the head, and down the neck, causing headaches. Sometimes this pain is subtle—maybe you feel a little foggy or have trouble concentrating. Other times, TMJ disorder can cause throbbing headaches or even migraines that are impossible to ignore.

The Link between TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea
Since the temporomandibular joint is so close to the sinuses and airways, TMJ disorder can affect breathing. A misaligned TMJ can cause improper tongue position that blocks the airway during sleep. A recent study of people with TMJ disorder found 75 percent of participants experienced sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder
Most TMJ disorder patients we diagnose complain about soreness along their jawline, feeling a clicking or popping sensation when they open and close their jaws, headaches, and trouble sleeping. To help get you the right treatment, we look for the following symptoms:

  • Clicking and popping in the temporomandibular joint
  • Malalignment of the teeth and bite
  • Pain in your forehead, temples, neck, and back of the head
  • Head posture, especially where the head is in front of the shoulders rather than centered over the shoulders
  • Evidence of grinding teeth or clenching the jaw during the day or while sleeping
  • Snoring during sleep
  • Restless sleep

How to Treat TMJ Disorder and Prevent Headaches and Sleep Apnea
Once we’ve diagnosed you with TMJ disorder, we’ll discuss your options for treating it. Many patients benefit from an oral appliance, also known as a splint. There are different ways we design splints, but typically these devices are custom-made for you. When worn, they keep your bite in a better position and more comfortable alignment. They also protect your teeth from grinding and clenching. Essentially, they give your jaw muscles a break.

Some patients can eliminate headaches and sleep apnea symptoms by wearing an oral appliance. With a properly aligned jaw, the tongue can rest in a more natural position, clearing the airway. But if an appliance alleviates TMJ pain without solving your sleep apnea, we often have to delve in deeper, sometimes working through different trial splints before we know which is the best for you. We also most likely would work with your sleep and general doctor to make sure we are getting your apnea or other sleep disordered breathing under control.

If you’re experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or troubling sleeping, schedule a consultation with Eggert Family Dentistry. We’ll determine if you’re suffering from TMJ disorder or possibly sleep issues and recommend treatment to alleviate it.

4 Reasons Teeth Chatter

By: Br. Elizabeth Eggert

That Have Nothing to Do with Being Cold

You’re watching your kid play football or soccer on a beautiful fall afternoon when the sun goes down, bringing the temperature down with it. You’ve forgotten your coat, so you start to shiver. Soon, your teeth are chattering. Next game, you’ll come prepared!

We’ve all experienced teeth chattering from chilly temperatures. It’s a normal bodyresponse to feeling cold. But sometimes, your teeth chatter when you’re perfectly comfortable. When they do, it’s time to give the chattering a second thought. Here are four reasons why your teeth could be chattering that have nothing to do with the chill in the fall air.

1. You grind your teeth.
Usually, patients who grind their teeth suffer from teeth clenching, not chattering. But intense teeth grinding can cause spasms in your jaw that result in chattering teeth. If your teeth grinding is this severe, please schedule a consultation with us. If left untreated, you could do some major damage to your teeth – from wearing them out to even cracking them in half.

2. You’re taking a medication that may cause tremors as a side effect.
Several common medications can cause trembling and as a result, teeth chattering. If you take medications to treat high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, or another condition, your teeth chattering may be a drug side effect. Call your doctor to report your symptoms and confirm that the medication is the cause. Talk with your doctor about adjusting your dose or trying another medication that doesn’t cause chattering side effects.

3. You’re experiencing a very high level of stress or anxiety.
Teeth chattering is a physiological response to very high levels of anxiety, just like a pounding heart, high blood pressure, and an adrenaline rush. If you’re under consistently high stress at work or at home, your teeth chattering may be a response to your anxiety level. Speak with a doctor to learn how you can reduce your stress and stop the chattering.

4. You have a neurological condition.
Teeth chattering can be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease and a symptom of Tourette’s Syndrome. Both can cause involuntary tremors and trembling throughout the body, including in the jaw. If you’ve ruled out all other causes, schedule an appointment with a neurologist to rule out one of these conditions.

If your teeth are chattering and you’re not cold, it’s important to figure out the reason why. Schedule an appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry to discover if you’ve been clenching and grinding your teeth. We can provide solutions that will ease the grinding and put a stop to the chattering.

Splint and Occlusal Therapy: Ruth’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Ruth came to us as a new patient. She was experiencing frequent headaches, 3-4 times per week or more, as well as frequent neck aches, shoulder pain, back pain, and migraines. In addition, she had ear pain, jaw pain, and was having a hard time sleeping. Ruth was working with her MD to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan to help her manage the pain, which her MD thought was because of a possible pinched nerve. She struggled with the headaches and migraines for years but was now experiencing increasing jaw pain. Dr. Elizabeth noted some tooth wear throughout her mouth and intense muscle discomfort during her muscle evaluation. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Ruth go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into the underlying causes of her pain.

What did Ruth want?

Ruth struggled with upper back, shoulder, head, jaw, and neck pain for years but she didn’t realize the pain could be related to her teeth. Ruth had, however, noticed some changes with her teeth including a space opening up and a loose front lateral tooth. Ruth decided to undergo records because she wanted to be able to eat without worry, she wanted her mouth to function better, and she wanted her teeth to last her lifetime. She also noticed herself clenching often and she was hoping to have that addressed during the process.

Ruth before occlusal therapy at Eggert Family Dentistry

What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Ruth’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation results to present Ruth with the current status of her teeth, gums, and the function of her jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed that the position of Ruth’s teeth, muscles, and jaw joints were causing multiple interferences. This means she was biting down unevenly causing the breakdown of her teeth as well as the jaw, neck, and shoulder pain. It was recommended that Ruth begin splint therapy.

What was involved?

The purpose of her splint therapy was to change the position of Ruth’s jaw to a relaxed muscle position. We were hoping this would improve her headaches and migraines and it did! In Ruth’s case, we also discussed how if we adjusted the teeth to fit together at the relaxed jaw position, she should be much more stable long-term.  Dr. Elizabeth fitted Ruth with a TMJ splint to wear all of the time to create the best possible function between the natural position of her jaw, muscles, and her teeth as they worked with one another.

As soon as Ruth’s muscles reached a comfortable and relaxed position, Dr. Elizabeth adjusted the alignment of the upper and lower teeth and altered the chewing surfaces of some of the her back teeth to remove the painful interferences. This process is called equilibration. Dr. Elizabeth then completed a solid new bite for Ruth with porcelain veneers and crowns on her upper and lower front teeth. The veneers were an important step in completing Ruth’s new bite because the ideal shape of the teeth helps to keep the back teeth from over engaging her muscles. This created harmony among Ruth’s jaw joints, muscles, and teeth as the joints and muscles were placed in a relaxed position and the teeth now come together at the same time. We finally designed a splint for Ruth to wear while she sleeps to keep her teeth, jaw, and muscles in this new comfortable position.Ruth after occlusal therapy at Eggert Family Dentistry

What does Ruth think?

“The presentation was really thorough and really good. I had no idea my migraines were caused by my bite. I got relief from my migraines in the early stages which was fantastic! I’m really happy. Everything was explained very well to me. I would recommend anyone experiencing my pain to come here. I would tell them to definitely pursue the treatment because you don’t have to live with the pain. It is also so nice to have everything looking great!”

Do you wonder if improving your bite may give you relief from headaches, migraines, or even back pain? Call today for an appointment at Eggert Family Dentistry 651-482-8412.

Quit Clenching and Grinding and Get the Facts about Bruxism

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Grinding or clenching your teeth causes bruxismDo you ever wake up with a dull ache in your jaw? Or, after a stressful day at work, do you find you’re always fighting a headache right at your temples? Chances are you didn’t sleep on your jaw funny or have a tension headache. You likely are clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth.

Dentists call clenching or grinding of the teeth bruxism. Most people do not even know they have it, as they might not be conscious of the fact they’re clenching their jaw during the day or grinding their teeth at night. And while many cases of bruxism are mild, some can be severe—and painful.

Severe bruxism can cause damage to your teeth and even cause your jaw to become unaligned. Clenching and grinding your teeth can also do damage to crowns and other dental work. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk with us if you suspect you’re clenching or grinding.

Bruxism: Causes

Dentists and doctors are not sure what causes bruxism, but we have some informed guesses. The cause may be physiological, such as abnormal alignment of your upper and lower teeth. But emotions such as stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration might also cause people to clench and grind their teeth.

Bruxism: Know the Signs

It’s not always possible to catch yourself grinding or clenching your teeth. But you can watch out for some of the physical signs that point to bruxism. Here is a short list of symptoms to look out for:

  • chipped, loose, flat, fractured, or worn teeth
  • damage to cheek tissue
  • headache or earache
  • indentations on your tongue
  • jaw does not open or close completely
  • tired or tight jaw muscles
  • tooth sensitivity
  • worn tooth enamel

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s time to schedule a dentist’s appointment with Eggert Family Dentistry. We’ll give you tips you can use at home to alleviate the discomfort bruxism causes. In more severe cases, we may recommend fitting you for a splint or night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep. In extreme cases, we may recommend correcting misaligned teeth with orthodontics.

Think you or a loved one are clenching and grinding? Schedule an appointment to find out. Email Eggert Family Dentistry or call (651) 482-8412 today.

Why Is Your Dentist Recommending a Splint or Night Guard?

By: Dr Elizabeth Eggert

Night GuardWe’ve all experienced the way stress manifests itself in our bodies. Tension headaches are just one common example. But many of us hold stress in our jaws or relieve stress by grinding our teeth. We might not even know we’re doing so, leading to discomfort and pain down the road.

Habitual clenching or grinding can cause a variety of problems with your jaw and teeth. It can overwork your muscles and periodontal ligaments, cause pain, and overstress your teeth. In extreme cases, forceful and repetitive clenching and grinding may even break teeth. Clenching and grinding can also overstress and cause pain and damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). To avoid these painful conditions, our dentists at Eggert Family Dentistry may recommend that you be fitted for a splint or night guard.

What does a splint or night guard prevent?

Splints and night guards protect your teeth and jaw from bruxism. Bruxism is the involuntary grinding of your teeth or clenching of your jaw. Clenching and grinding can occur during the day or night. Most people are not aware they even grind or clench.

But we are able to see the evidence of bruxism during your check-ups. We see patterns in the wear of your teeth and might notice you have highly developed jaw-closing muscles. In these cases, we might recommend splint therapy.

What is splint therapy?

Splint therapy, changes the position of your jaw to a relaxed muscle position by creating stable muscles and jaw joints. We use several different tools in splint therapy, including a Lucia Jig, an anterior deprogrammer, or a TMJ splint. Splint therapy may last a number of weeks or months, during which you come in for regular therapy appointments.

In an ideal situation, the teeth can then be changed to fit together at the same position where the jaw is relaxed. There are three typical methods to help this occur: equilibration of the teeth, orthodontics, or dental restorations. Some people elect not to change their teeth and to continue with their splint only. In these cases, sometimes the muscles stay stable with only night-time use of the splint.

What about night guards?

Night guards are appliances you wear while you sleep. A guard fits over your teeth and prevents them from grinding together. Though you can buy moldable night guards at the pharmacy, investing in a custom night guard we create ensures your appliance fits comfortably and correctly for years of use. The OTC night guards tend to be too bulky and often make people clench or grind even more than before.  The main difference between a simple night-guard and splint therapy is that we cannot confirm that the night guard will keep you in your most relaxed muscle position.

It’s important that you take your dentist’s recommendation for splint therapy or night guards seriously. When left untreated, clenching and grinding can cause oral health issues down the road. If you suspect you clench your jaw or grind your teeth while you sleep or anytime, contact Eggert Family Dentistry today. Call (651) 482-8412.

Snore no More – An Easy Fix for a Great Night’s Sleep

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Snore no More – An Easy Fix for a Great Night’s Sleep

Snoring man. Couple in bed, man snoring and woman can not sleep, covering ears with pillow for snore noise. Young interracial couple, Asian woman, Caucasian man sleeping in bed at home.

We live in a society that is in critical need of sleep.

Sleep behaviors affect every aspect of your daily life. There’s nothing like a full night of rest to help you be ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, there are probably a lot of us out there that haven’t felt that way for a while.

If you’ve lost that spring in your step (and quite possibly your family is also feeling the fallout) take a look at your sleep habits. Are any sleep problems inhibiting your ability to get in seven to eight hours of restful slumber? Is your sleep problem – snoring?

It’s very easy not to take snoring seriously. It doesn’t really affect you unless, a) it wakes you up, b) your spouse moves into another bedroom to sleep, or c) no one wants to share a hotel room during the snowmobiling trip (yes, snoring can register at 80 decibels).

Snoring, however, is a disorder.

Snoring is a sound that occurs during sleep when soft (palatal) tissue in the upper airway vibrates as you breathe. Simple snoring, without obstructive sleep apnea, affects approximately 20% of the adult population, and is more frequent in males than females. [*See our blog Dental Help for Your Sleep Apnea to learn more about sleep apnea.]

Easy solutions to curb snoring include:

  • losing weight (if overweight)
  • exercising regularly
  • avoiding alcohol and smoking
  • avoiding sleep aids
  • sleeping on your side

But what do you do when the snoring continues?

First, work with a sleep center to determine that you don’t have sleep apnea. It’s far too dangerous to mess around with obstructive sleep apnea.

If it is just simple snoring, the best treatment involves the use of a jaw advancing prosthesis. This “dental appliance therapy” involves the use of a small device similar to a mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer. When worn during sleep, it prevents the airway from collapsing by bringing the jaw forward, elevating the soft palate, or retaining the tongue.

Dental appliances are an inexpensive and non-invasive way to bring peace and quiet to your household. Our patients have responded extremely well when using them.

Are you ready to learn more about treatment options for snoring? Give us a call today, 651-482-8412. We’ll set you up with an appointment to go through the records process with Dr. Elizabeth to gather the required information in determining if oral appliance therapy is the right solution for you. If you’re given the green light, models of your teeth will be sent to a lab, where an oral appliance will be made specifically to your tooth contours. During the appliance fitting, there’ll be adjustments made until you have satisfaction of the appliance’s fit and feel.

And then watch out.

All that extra sleep just may offer the health changes needed to put that spring back into your step! Not to mention how much better your family will be able to sleep too.

Splint and Occlusal Therapy – Jeff’s story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Jeff came to us as an established patient at one of his routine exams. He was experiencing increasing jaw pain and was having trouble eating. He remembered having jaw pain for the past five years, but things were getting noticeably worse. Jeff was also experiencing periods of lock jaw and knew he was clenching his teeth at night. Dr. Elizabeth noted some wear throughout his mouth and intense muscle discomfort during his muscle evaluation. Dr. Elizabeth recommended Jeff go through our records process so that she could delve deeper into the underlying causes of his pain.

What did Jeff want?

Jeff had noticed a lot more pain and wear in the past few years and wanted to have his mouth comfortable again. He also wanted to be able to eat without worry. Specifically, Jeff wanted his mouth to function better. He was also experiencing some ringing in ears and hearing changes that he was hoping to have addressed during the process.

Jeff 1      Jeff 2

What was revealed during the records process?

Dr. Elizabeth used models, photos, and x-rays of Jeff’s teeth along with our thorough muscle and joint evaluation results to present Jeff with the current status of his teeth, gums, and the function of his jaw and muscles. The details of the records process revealed that the position of Jeff’s teeth were causing multiple interferences. This means he was biting down unevenly causing the breakdown of his teeth as well as the jaw pain. It was recommended that Jeff begin splint therapy.

What was involved?

The purpose of his splint therapy was to change the position of Jeff’s jaw to a relaxed muscle position. In Jeff’s case, we also discussed how if we adjusted the teeth to fit together at the relaxed jaw position, he should be much more stable overall and long-term. Dr. Elizabeth fitted Jeff with an anterior deprogrammer to wear all of the time to create the best possible function between the natural position of his jaw, muscles, and his teeth as they worked with one another. As soon as Jeff’s muscles reached a comfortable and relaxed position, Dr. Elizabeth created a solid new bite for Jeff with equilibration. Dr. Elizabeth adjusted the alignment of the upper and lower teeth and altered the chewing surfaces of some of the teeth to remove the painful interferences. This created harmony among Jeff’s jaw joints, muscles, and teeth as the joints and muscles were placed in a relaxed position and the teeth now come together at the same time. We finally designed a splint for Jeff to wear while he sleeps to keep his teeth, jaw, and muscles in this new comfortable position. 

Jeff 3    Jeff 4

What does Jeff think?

“I wanted to get rid of the pain and the Records Process helped me to understand what was going on. The process was easy and simple. I’m not having pain anymore! I’m not nervous to eat anymore! I used to get excruciating pain with certain bites. This has made me a lot happier for sure. I would highly recommend the procedure!”