Hamidreza Nassery , DMD, FICOI, FAGD, FICCMO  
Male, 55
Miami Beach, FL

Interests: My family, Dentistry, all sports, Travel
Miami Beach, FL
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TMD & SLEEP APNEA - So What's the Connection?

Apr 21, 2009 - 4 comments

After the last two blogs, a number of people had asked me about the connection of TMD and Sleep Apnea, and even the origins of these issues.  I am sure that many more had the same question in mind but did not ask.  After all what is a dentist doing speaking about sleep apnea and snoring.
In my previous blogs, you may have noticed how I have mentioned the fact that our dental arches (Upper and Lower Teeth) have been moving back.  We have obseved this phenomenae now for  the past 250-300 years, and it is well documented in orthodontic research.
Dr. Weston Price, a dentist in the 1930's from Cleveland, Ohio, noticed these issues first, some 70 years ago.  He was a true genius.  You see, unlike most who will immediately go into fixup mode, he asked the question, "What is the underlying cuase of all the malocclusion and dengeneration?"  A question that to this day has not been addressed properly.  Unfortunately, the bulk of his work and research has gone unnoticed for the most part. As a dentist, I can tell you that his work or name were never mentioned at all in dental school.  A true travesty.
Whether it is blaten ignorance or systematic cover up  the results are the same.  We have turned into a culture of quick fixes.  The direction of modern medicine and dentistry has been mostly in dealing and hiding symptoms rather than dealing with the source of ailments.  There is a fill for everything, from blood pressure and cholesterol to headaches.  If we break a tooth we just cover it or if one grinds we make them a nightguard, never asking the right question.  Why things go to where they got??
Dr Price asked the right question.  He set out on a journey that took him to several countries where he studied some fourteen different indigenous populations.  From Africian tribes to Eskimos in Alaska, to Polynesian Islands and Swiss Alps.
The first thing he noticed was that the farther he got from civilization the less decay he encountered.  However, he also observed well developed facial features such as nostrils, straight teeth, well developed wide dental arches, healthy bodies and resistance to diseases.  The depth of his findings are much too deep to be explained in a in a simple blog.  I highly recommend reading his book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration."  It is Timeless.
So, what is the connection of his findings to our subject specifically?  Well, it turns out that those well developed nostrils he noted in his writings have everything to do with what we see today.  Our bodies reaction what he termed "Western Diet" alongside an arguably good dose of environmental pollution, has made it very difficult for most of us to be nose breathers.  We all have differing degrees of histaminic reactions to these substances, which make us more of a mouth breather.
How does this effect our development??  To properly develop our dental arch form, there must be a balance between muscles. Muscles of facial expression from the outside and our tongue from the inside.  However, when one breathes more from the mouth than nose, we effectively take the tongue out of this equation and create the imbalance during our developmental years between ages 2-9, when most facial development is happening this lack of nasal breathing, or upper airway problem will tip the balance off and the only effective force on one upper dental arch is the external forces of muscles of facial expression which will push the upper arch back and narrows it.    In response to this, our lower arch will have to take a more posteriorized position and match the narrow upper arch.  All of these will result in encroachment on the tongue space, which by now has pushed into our pharyngeal airway, also our muscles of masticiation will end up working a different trajectory of function.  This latter is perhaps responsible for most recurrent headaches and sysmtoms.
So now you should have a picture in your mind of what we are dealing with.  I hope that in some small way I have been able to shed some light on the possible origins of these conditions.  This, by no means, is to indicate that these are the only reasons, as there are several other factors that can be at work concurrently.
What seems to be the constant , is the role of our diet in all these ailments.

To your health.

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Avatar universal
by dooney01, Apr 26, 2010
Hello, I thought I would post this here. I am new to the forums, I am just looking for a simple answer. So far the best answer I've found from google is TMD, but I am not sure that is correct.

This morning I was eating my breakfast I happened to bite the right side of my tongue (at least I am pretty sure it was my tongue). Instantly sent a pain to my right ear. Now this evening the right side of my throat is a little 'sore' almost like a bruise and I can still somewhat tell there is a little pain in my right ear.

I did some google research and found it's pretty common for throat pain after a tongue bite, but couldn't find any connection with the ear pain except for TMD...I just can't believe thats what it is.

This has happened before, but it has been a VERY long time. I am going to school to become a nurse and I know there are tons of nerves connected and wondered if that is just that, i somehow bit a part of my tongue that happened to have a nerve that sent pain up to the ear?

I really just want some peace of mind that I am not crazy :) And I don't really want to go to the doctor unless it is a must.

Thanks so much for any input you could give me.

I am 21 female btw.




Please read my other blog "best treatments for TMJ" and read the posts on that one I think you will find your answer pretty quickly.


Avatar universal
by dragonfly757, Aug 12, 2010
Hey Doc? I don't ever see you recommending acupuncture to get used to the splint or after surgery. I was diagnosed with
TMD (aka TMJ) 30 years ago. I'd had almost total numbness in my right arm and couldn't lift anything over 5 lbs. X-rays of my shoulder, neurological testing of the nerves, etc. everything was fine except I had terrible pain in my right arm. Finally
I went to an acupuncturist who moved my arm around and told me I had TMD. I thought he was a quack but he sent
me to a dentist in Lansing, MI who make me a splint and sent me back to the acupuncturist to get treated. It took 4
acupuncture treatments for my jaw to accomodate the appliance without pain.
That was 30 years ago, I've changed the splint a few times but never had the arm pain again.
I think it is weird that I never had headaches, neck pain, etc., just right arm pain and my PCP couldn't figure it out.
Of course everyone now understands TMD and they get treated a lot earlier.
But back to my question: have you ever worked with an acupuncturist to help people with jaw problems?

Hello Dragonfly.

Sorry for the delay, was away. Very nice point.. I am actually all for accupunture, as a matter of fact one the tools I use, mainly the tens unit, is an ultra low frequency tens, which in essesnce mimicks the work of the accupunture.. Near my practice I regularly work with an accupuncturist. Glad to hear your story.. put the name of your doctor on maybe some one else could benefit from the experience of this doctor.
Thanks for sharing. All the best.

H.Nassery, DMD

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