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Question: What happens when you take medication?
Answer: There is the ‘desired effect’ and there are also Side effects.
Some common side effects that arise when taking medication include: nausea, upset stomach, skin irritation and drowsiness, to name a few.
No, this is not a blog about the side effects of medications….however I mention them because like many remedies out there, there exist side effects that need to be taken into account.
The same goes for Mandibular Advancing Devices (M.A.D’S).
The goal of a M.A.D is to advance the lower jaw forward to open up the airway. This will prevent the airway from collapsing upon itself which would result in periods of time that an individual is not breathing (apnea).
Delivering the M.A.D to the patient is just the beginning of a series of appointments (follow ups) and close monitoring that must be done in order to ensure that they are getting the maximum benefit from the appliance.
Side effects DO exist and are expected. Some of the short term side effects include:
1) Increase in salivation
2) Dry mouth
3) Pain or discomfort in the supporting teeth, masticatory muscles (major muscles of the face) and temporomandibular joint (tmj).
Please note: These ‘short term’ side effects rarely lead to a patient abandoning treatment…..they usually resolve on their own.
The main long term side effect is:
1) Occlusal changes without the presence of pain. This is a little complicated to explain however what basically occurs over time is that the lower jaw becomes postured forward. This occurs because the M.A.D works by advancing the lower jaw forward in order to open up the airway and resolve the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Mandibular Re Positioners
This is a plastic material (like a mouth guard) that the patient bites into for a short period of time upon wakening. Its purpose is to bring the lower jaw forward to its original position.
However, even with the use of a mandibular re positioner, individuals find that their lower jaws do become positioned in a forward position in relation to where they were before the treatment began.
It has been found that the majority of patients do not mind if their lower jaw becomes postured forwards…..this just becomes their new normal.
The actual health benefits that one sees from the M.A.D far outweigh the side effect of the lower jaw being postured forward. After all, treatment with the M.A.D lowers blood pressure as well as improves psychological and cognitive well- being.
To learn about the other health benefits, see blog “Sleep Apnea – Symptoms Re-Visited “posted on December 1st 2013.
The point to remember here is that by employing the use of M.A.D’s we are saving lives. We are reducing the severity or even eliminating certain medical conditions that are adversely affecting an individual’s life.
Yours in Good Health,
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist