Treating Facial Pain and Sleep Apnea

A Tailored and Minimally-Invasive Approach

By Annette Pinder
Facial Pain and Apnea 2

Jeffrey Goldberg DDS was always interested in developing expertise in a unique area of dentistry. He had a strong interest in biology, ethics and human behavior, and wanted a practice that encompassed a whole body biobehavioral psychosocial approach to caring for patients.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous, chronic disorder in which a person stops breathing several times per hour while asleep. While many patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) benefit from traditional CPAP therapy, there are others who cannot use a CPAP machine. Oral appliances hold the lower jaw forward to open up the airway allowing a person to breathe more easily while asleep. They are small, easily transportable, and do not involve hoses, masks, or electricity. Dr. Goldberg says, “Oral appliances can be as effective as CPAP, and in some cases a better option. Giving people a comfortable alternative for a potentially serious condition is important to me.”

Dental care and toothache. Closeup young woman face worried girl suffering from tooth pain on gray

“After helping so many people with sleep apnea, one thing led to the next,” says Dr. Goldberg. Facial pain at the side of the face, headaches, and jaw dysfunction, may be due to a disorder called TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. People with TMJ may notice clicking in their jaw. TMJ has many causes and treatment options to relieve pain and restore the joint to normal function, including therapy, exercise, behavioral changes, and oral appliances. Often the problem is anatomical, but sometimes it is behavioral, as a result of teeth clenching or grinding.

But the first step making an accurate diagnosis and cause for TMJ, which often requires a specialized exam, x-rays and other imaging. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment is specifically tailored to each individual using a minimally invasive approach. Treatment can involve medication, which is used sparingly, injections, therapeutic ultrasound, low level laser therapy, biofeedback, and physical therapy as necessary. And education is always very important.

Recently, Dr. Goldberg relocated from Clarence to the Dent Tower in Amherst. He says, “Dent is locally and nationally recognized as an institution of the highest caliber in the field of neurology. Being able to work directly with Dent physicians in properly treating and diagnosing TMJ provides a full service solution to our patients. Dr. Goldberg says, “A majority of TMJ patients experience headaches, and 20% of patients with migraines have TMJ. Consulting with world-class neurologists is reassuring. I don’t have to worry that I am missing something. I have full coverage in making an accurate diagnosis and developing an appropriate course of treatment for my patients. And so far, the results have been very positive.”

It is estimated that 10 percent of the population in the U.S. has TMJ, but very few dentists specialize in the condition. Dr. Goldberg completed a residency in temporomandibular joint disorders at University of Buffalo, is the only dentist in WNY to graduate from an ADA accredited program in this highly specialized area of dentistry, and works with all medical insurances. Learn more at www.facialpainandapnea.com or call 716-636-2222 to make an appointment.