Disorders and Self-Care Tips

Some common orofacial conditions are obstructive sleep disorders and temporomadibular disorders.

Obstructive sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea, are caused by anatomical obstructions of the airway. Airway obstruction can occur as a result of nasal congestion, swelling, decreased tissue tone, lax musculature, enlarged tongue or tonsils, elongated soft palate, increased body fat and posterior posturing of the jaw.

Many people experience recurrent pain involving the head, jaw, face and neck. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a common cause of many of these complaints. Temporomandibular disorders are often referred to as “TMJ.”

Jaw area pain and dysfunction
Behavioral Changes
  • Maintain soft diet
  • Avoid excessive jaw function, such as chewing gum
  • Relax or meditate daily
Health Enhancement
  • Minimize sugar, caffeine and alcohol
  • Apply warm compresses
  • Massage affected area
  • Exercise daily
  • Take nutritional supplements
  • Drink plenty of water
Postural Correction
  • Maintain teeth apart, relaxed jaw posture
  • Wear night mouth guard
  • Avoid forward head posture
  • Sit in ergonomically designed seat
  • Sleep with head and neck support
Non-Prescription Medication
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Sedative herbal teas
  • Antihistamines
  • Topical analgesic creams
Jaw Related Airway Obstruction

The following suggestions may help reduce or prevent snoring and sleep apnea:

Behavioral Changes
  • Minimize exercise before sleep
  • Limit pre-sleep work projects
  • Sleep with head elevated
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime
  • Decrease noise and light
  • Avoid nightly conflict
Health Enhancement
  • Optimize body weight
  • Exercise daily
  • Minimize sugar, caffeine and alcohol
  • Practice pre-sleep relaxation techniques
Postural Correction
  • Sleep on your side
  • Sleep with head elevated and neck supported