Category Archives: Dental Camp

Joseph Kunnel Describes The Problem of TMJ Disorders and Possible Orthodontic Treatments


TMJ or temporomandibular joint syndrome affects over 10 million Americans every year. More women than men suffer from TMJ dysfunction. TMJ covers a variety of disorders that cause the jaw joint to function improperly and cause pain in the muscles that control the jaw.


Many people experience TMJ problems occasionally, but they frequently come in cycles and resolve themselves. If you believe that you have a TMJ disorder interfering with your life, it is time to consult with an orthodontist.
Joseph Kunnel, a Skokie, Illinois resident and experienced orthodontist,
explores the causes and ramifications of TMJ and the possibilities for treatment.
The Temporomandibular Joint
TMJ affects how the lower jaw (the mandible) is connected to the bones in the side of the head, known as the temporal bones. These joints have a great deal of flexibility, meaning that we can yawn, talk, and chew freely.

Since this joint combines hinge and sliding motions, it is one of the most
complex in the entire body. If something goes wrong, it can be extremely challenging to correct.

The complexity of the TMJ joint means that patients should visit orthodontists who specialize in correcting the disorder. Not all orthodontists are qualified to work on TMJ-related problems, and it pays to do prior research before visiting any practitioner.


TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders fall into three broad categories. The first is the experience of
myofascial pain. This involves pain and discomfort in the muscles controlling the function of the jaw.
An internal displacement of the joint can involves displaced discs, dislocated jawbones, or injury.
Finally, TMJ can be caused by arthritis. One or more of these conditions may
happen together, making treatment even more complex.

Causes of TMJ
It is largely unknown what causes TMJ to begin. In some cases, trauma to the jaw or muscle could start the problem. While it is popularly believed that a poor bite or orthodontic braces can trigger TMJ, research does not bear this out. Tooth
grinding and general stress also do not cause TMJ, though many believe this is the case.
Poor posture can contribute to TMJ symptoms. Sitting at a computer in a
non-ergonomic position can cause problems because the patient needs to hold their head forward.

Home Care for TMJ
There are actions that TMJ patients can take at home to improve their pain. The first option is jaw exercises. Orthodontists will explain these exercises to the patient and share how they can be used when TMJ is flaring up.

Heat and cold therapy can also be helpful. Ice packs and warm washcloths
should be alternated for the best results. This procedure can be done a few
times per day.
When TMJ is flaring up, it is important to ensure that the patient does not eat crunchy, chewy, or hard foods. Soft foods like scrambled eggs and yogurt are best. Avoid apples, caramels, bagels, and gum, among many other foods.

Extreme jaw movements like biting into a large burger, singing, and yelling
should be avoided. Caffeine should be limited, and magnesium supplements
should be tried.

Orthodontic Treatments for TMJ
Fortunately for the many patients who suffer from TMJ, there are a variety of solutions available for their pain. An experienced orthodontist like Joseph Kunnel can help to walk patients through their treatment options and help them decide which is the best path to follow toward a pain-free life.

Correcting the Alignment of the Jaw
Orthodontists who specialize in TMJ do not always correct the bite to that which is commonly accepted. Orthodontists specializing in this disorder are more concerned with realigning the jaw and muscles to produce a better result and freedom from TMJ pain.


The relationship between the teeth and the temporomandibular joint is carefully examined. Specialist orthodontists like Joseph Kunnel can create treatment plans that help to improve the function of the temporomandibular joint and produce excellent results.

Mouthguards
While not all practitioners believe that mouthguards are effective in the fight against TMJ, many patients find that these appliances can reduce the poor alignment of their jaw that causes flare-ups.

Effects of TMJ
TMJ can severely impact a patient’s quality of life. Understandably, they would seek any means of treatment necessary to find a solution to their problem. Correcting their posture, bite, and jaw alignment are a few ways in which TMJ disorders can be treated.

Working with an Orthodontist

Orthodontists like Joseph Kunnel are interested in helping patients overcome the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders. Their advanced methods can help patients rest easier and experience the joy of being pain-free. Contact a local orthodontist today if you believe you are having problems with TMJ. A qualified orthodontist can help to diagnose your problem, recommend proper treatment, and help you move forward to a pain-free future.

Joseph Kunnel Explores How Orthodontic Treatment Can Help Sleep Apnea Patients

Sleep apnea is a damaging condition that can contribute to daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. If patients find that they snore loudly and are exhausted after a full night’s sleep, they may exhibit sleep apnea signs.
There are many treatment options for sleep apnea, including CPAP machines and other breathing apparatus. However, a less invasive method may also be used to treat sleep apnea. In some cases, especially in children, airway obstruction is caused by misaligned teeth.
Joseph Kunnel, an experienced orthodontist from Skokie, Illinois, shares how orthodontic treatment can help sleep apnea patients sleep better and live healthier lives.

What is Sleep Apnea?
There are three main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, where throat muscles relax too much; central sleep apnea, where the brain does not send the proper breathing signals; and complex sleep apnea syndrome, a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea causes a person to start and stop breathing frequently throughout the night. They typically disturb their family members who are trying to sleep at night. This is often the first sign that a person needs treatment for sleep apnea.

Causes of Sleep Apnea
Following are the major causes for the two primary types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the type most commonly treated through orthodontic intervention.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea happens when the muscles sited in the back of the throat relax too much. The muscles support the uvula, the soft palate, the tonsils, the tongue, and the inside walls of the throat. When these muscles relax, the airway closes or narrows as the patient breathes in. This can cause a lack of oxygen in the brain, prompting the brain to wake the patient up enough to reopen their airway.

Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea happens when the brain does not transmit the right message to the muscles. The body makes no effort to breathe for short periods of time.

Orthodontic Solutions
Orthodontists like Joseph Kunnel are often the first professionals to recognize that an adult or child patient has sleep apnea. They regularly perform screenings for this condition in the course of a patient’s treatment.

If a patient is found to have sleep apnea, they would be referred to a specialist physician. The physician may recommend that the patient receive orthodontic treatment to keep the airways open during sleep.

Orthodontists use oral appliances to keep patients’ airways open during sleep. These devices include mandibular advancing oral appliances and tongue retaining devices. Mandibular advancing appliances hold the jaw and other tissues forward. This helps to keep the upper airway open.

Tongue retaining devices keep the tongue and other soft tissues from relaxing and obstructing the airway. Tongue retaining devices are approximately as effective as mandibular advancing oral appliances. This can mean that a tongue retaining device could be a less expensive and less invasive option than a CPAP machine.

Surgical Solutions
If patients have severe obstructive sleep apnea, they may be candidates for mandibular advancement surgery. This could be an excellent alternative for patients who cannot tolerate oral appliances at night and cannot adhere to CPAP treatment.

Orthodontic Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children There are many options for treating child sleep apnea patients through orthodontic intervention. Early orthodontic treatment may help with abnormalities around the bony structures surround the airway. Early treatment could reverse the causes of obstructive sleep apnea in children as well as adults and adolescents.

Mandibular advancement surgery can also be used in children. Slow or rapid maxillary expansion surgery can also help expand the airway and reduce the risk of problems caused by obstructive sleep apnea.

Benefits of Treatment
The primary benefit of orthodontic treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is that patients can relax into deep and restorative sleep. Interrupted sleep and lack of oxygen can cause many serious problems, and when sleep apnea is treated, people can move forward with a healthier life.

Potential Risks
As with all orthodontic treatments, movement of the teeth will occur with oral appliances. This may cause an undesired appearance in the mouth. A properly trained orthodontist will be able to help the patient compensate for these problems with further treatment.

Choosing the Right Orthodontist
When searching for an orthodontist who can help treat them or their children for sleep apnea, they should make sure that they find an experienced practitioner like Joseph Kunnel. These orthodontists work closely with sleep specialists and surgeons to help design a treatment plan to support healthy sleep in their patients.

Potential Risks
Oral appliances may cause teeth to move. Non-orthodontic providers may not know about the unwanted effects of oral appliances on their patient’s teeth in the long term. Orthodontists can help manage the alignment of the teeth and make sure that unwanted side effects do not occur or can be repaired.