CPAP Intolerance with Sleep Apnea

January 11, 2016

Sleep Apnea ChairObstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by repetitive episodes of sleep arousal due to the collapse of the upper airway tissues during sleep. The tell-tale clinical symptom of OSA is usually excessive and persistent snoring. People that share a bed or room with someone with OSA will sometimes witness or hear that the snoring abruptly ceases during the apneic episodes. Waking up as many as 100s of times every night results in daytime sleepiness that can lead to impairment of almost any day-to-day activity. Unfortunately, CPAP, one of the most frequently prescribed sleep apnea treatments, doesn’t work for everyone.

CPAP Intolerance

Diagnosis of OSA very often leads to a referral for CPAP treatment. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a mask that fits over the nose and mouth and must be worn each night. There are patients who like their CPAP machines from the day they receive them and never experience problems adjusting. There are many variations of the CPAP machine, but unfortunately, there are quite a few people that are simple CPAP intolerant. Side effects include face breakouts from the straps, nasal and eye irritation, dry mouth, sore throat, and runny nose. Patients with allergies, mouth Read more »

Can Sleep Apnea Occur in Children?

December 28, 2015

Child Brushing TeethThe condition of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is generally thought of as an adult plight. People who are above middle-age, overweight, or have a family history of OSA are certainly more likely to be afflicted. However, any age group, gender, or type of person can be at risk for sleep apnea. In fact, even children can be diagnosed with pediatric sleep apnea.

OSA in Children

Most cases of sleep apnea occurring in young people can lead to the same symptoms as adult obstructive sleep apnea cases. Snoring and other signs of disturbed sleep are important to pay attention to at any age, but especially in small children. Pay attention to children who snore a lot. If you hear a long pause in breathing while your child is sleeping (whether they snore or not) there could be a problem with OSA. Other symptoms to pay attention to in conjunction with OSA can include night sweats, day time tiredness, and dry mouth complaints. Read more »

Thanksgiving and your Smile

November 18, 2015

Turkey PlatterYou may be on a current quest to eat light this week so your pants are a bit looser for the feast that is just a little over a week away. Thanksgiving offers an incredible bounty of delicious delicacies to please all palates. However, eating is simply not as much fun when you are harboring temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). If your TMJs are tender, no matter how hungry you are, much of the pleasure of eating will be forgotten. You might even injure your TMJs for the first time during a huge meal like the one most of us enjoy on Thanksgiving. Taking bites that are too big, or stuffing your mouth with more food than it can comfortably hold is a recipe for TMJ discomfort.

Too Much for your Jaw

If you should take bites of food which are bigger than the size of your mouth in a natural open position, you are putting your jaw at risk for TMJ issues. It is no secret that portions have become incredibly large in America. However, there’s no day Read more »

Is Stress Ruining your Teeth?

November 3, 2015

Jaw Pain LadyStress is well known to evoke a variety of different reactions in different types of people. Some stressors and their reactions are obvious and conscious, and some occur unconsciously, even when we’re sleeping and completely unaware. You can recognize if stress is causing you to bite your fingernails or snap easily at every person who comes into your path.  However, a lesser known side effect of stress can be extremely detrimental to your dental health. The condition is called bruxism, but is probably better known as teeth grinding. As your teeth grind away every night in your dreams, instead of relieving stress, you’re actually creating potential tooth damage.

The Nightly Grind

People who suffer with bruxism might have no symptoms to let them know that diagnosis and treatment are necessary. If any signs are considered obvious they would include: Read more »

Can Physical Therapy Sooth TMJs?

August 14, 2015

TMD PainPeople with aching joints generally refer to their knees, ankles, elbows, or wrists. While these joints are definitely strongly used, there is a pair of joints you probably don’t give a ton of thought to, even though they may be the busiest of them all – your temporomandibular joints (TMJs). Without these joints on either side of your jaw, you wouldn’t have the ability to chew, talk, yawn, swallow, or sneeze. One of the many methods for assuaging TMJ discomfort is physical therapy.

Finding Your TMJ

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is often misnamed as “TMJ” even though that is technically just the short name for the two joints on either side of your face, just below your ears. To locate it yourself, simply place your fingertips in front of each ear and open your mouth. When you feel an indentation, you’re in the right place. Temporomandibular joints connect the temporal bone and the mandible. If you experience popping or clicking when you open or close your mouth, notice headaches, neck aches, ear aches, pain when you bite down, or general jaw soreness, you could have TMD.

Physical Therapy for TMD

One physical therapy treatment commonly used for TMD treatment might include the use of ultrasound technology. Utilizing a Read more »

Pillow Shopping for Sleep Apnea Patients

May 13, 2015

Sleep Apnea ChairHave you ever known anyone who had a favorite pillow that they took with them anywhere they were going to spend the night? Some people spend years finding the perfect pillow, and once they find it, they can’t dream of sleeping without it. Do you have the pillow of your dreams or is does it feel more like a nightmare when you lay your head down at night? A good pillow can even help with obstructive sleep apnea severity.

Types of Pillows

When you lay your head on your pillow at night, do you ever think about what’s inside of it? There are many possibilities as to what might be stuffing your pillow to plump perfection for resting your wary head. Which type of pillow filling is the most comfortable is a personal decision.  Down-feathers, or a  combination of down and synthetic feathers, are common in pillows. Foam – particularly memory foam – has become a big trend in pillows, mattresses, and mattress toppers.  The foam is designed to give more neck support and mold to the shape of your head and neck. Some people prefer a very Read more »

TMJ – A Real Pain in the Neck

April 30, 2015

Jaw GuyAches and pains are often chalked up to being just another fact of life, especially as we get older. There are even conditions such as fibromyalgia that present with chronic pain that moves from one place to the next. Temporomandimular joint disorder (TMD) is another elusive condition when it comes to diagnosis. Many of the symptoms and pains mimic a variety of conditions. Pain can be orofacial (involving the face, mouth, ears, etc.) or even radiate through the neck and shoulders. No matter where you feel pain that begins in the TMJs, you’re bound to have trouble finding peaceful rest when you’re suffering.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

You have two temporomandibular joints which are located in the jaw. They provide you with the ability to open and close your mouth smoothly. These jaw joints are utilized when you eat, chew, speak, yawn, or anything that involves your Read more »

What Does It Mean When Your Jaw Hurts?

November 21, 2014

businessman's jaw hurtsJaw discomfort can sometimes be ambiguous. You might have bit down on something hard recently and strained your jaw muscles, or you might be experiencing a symptom of a serious jaw dysfunction. When your jaw hurts continuously, or if your jaw pain comes with other symptoms, you may be in the grips of TMJ disorder—a dysfunction that affects your jaw’s joints and muscles. If your condition isn’t diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, the discomfort, and resulting dental damage, will grow worse. Read more »

Sleep Apnea Patients Experience Insomnia and Depression

October 21, 2014

InsomniaOne unfortunate side effect of depression is not feeling able to get out of bed because you’re so exhausted and life seems insurmountable. However, for plenty of people who are struggling with clinical depression, getting to sleep might be a whole other issue. Insomnia (the inability to sleep) is a common complaint of depressed people. Barrington dentist, Dr. Jennifer Mullarkey, will explain a bit more about depression and how it can affect the quality and amount of your sleep, potentially putting you at higher risk for sleep apnea.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder wherein the patient has trouble maintaining a nightly restorative sleep pattern. This lack of sleep quality and quantity can impair your daily functioning during the day, and the anxiety and fear of not being able to get to sleep again the next night may only make your exhaustion and frustration worse. With insomnia, you get too little sleep, have a great challenge with the falling Read more »

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Quiz

August 14, 2014

True False ChalkHave you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or do you suspect you should seek out a sleep study to see if your breathing stops temporarily throughout the night?  Buffalo Grove dentistDr. Jennifer Mullarkey, can improve your knowledge of OSA and help you determine whether you should schedule a consultation and seek treatment. Try this true or false quiz to learn more.


Q1. True or False – There are three types of sleep apnea.

Q2. True or false – Among the diseases linked to OSA are diabetes, heart disease, and shingles.

Q3. True or false – Most patients describe CPAP machines as more comfortable than oral appliances and prefer them for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Read more »