BOE: Sleep Diagnosis
Dr. David Minyard opened Oklahoma TMJ and Sleep Therapy two years ago to use his knowledge and dental training to help people with TMJ (temporomandibular joint), orofacial pain and sleep apnea problems.
“My first patient in Edmond was a good friend and an accidental patient,” he recalls. “She was just helping us by pretending to be a patient so we could get our office staff trained and hone our in-office routine procedures. During her ‘pretend to be a patient’ visit, we discovered she really did have a problem with her TM joint.”
After Minyard treated his friend, the migraines she had endured for over 15 years disappeared. “Her TMD (Temporomandibular disorder) was a trigger for her migraine headaches, which she had three to four times monthly. People don’t associate headache with TMJ problems, but it’s the number one symptom associated with TMJ disorders. Headaches are closely associated with sleep disordered breathing as well.”
Some of the common symptoms of TMJ include headache, pain in the joint or ear, painful chewing, inability to close or open the mouth, joint noises, ringing in the ears, and facial or neck pain.
The broad classification of symptoms and diagnoses are called TMD, which encompasses a multitude of possible problems with the muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and the joint itself. This wide variety of symptoms can create a unique challenge for doctors to accurately diagnose.
“TMJ and orofacial pain is very complex so reaching an appropriate diagnosis is paramount,” said Minyard. There are very few dentists trained in TMJ. “It is not taught in most dental schools, and those few schools that do teach TMJ courses only provide a few hours of training.”
Minyard has spent a great deal of time taking post graduate courses in TMJ and sleep dentistry to be able to diagnose and treat these disorders. After graduating from USC School of Dentistry in 1978, he worked as an Army dentist for 3 years. Minyard then went into private practice for 21 years in Yuma, Arizona
In 2003, he began to study TMJ, orofacial pain and sleep related breathing disorders, developing a passion for it. “I began treating TMJ problems and found it to be rewarding,” Minyard said. “I really enjoy seeing patients improve and get their quality of life restored.”
To schedule an appointment at Oklahoma TMJ and Sleep Therapy (950 Medical Park Blvd), call his office at 330-9444.