Center provides treatment for dental sleep disorders

By Nancy Eagleton….


Sleep — you want it, you need it, yet many people don’t get enough of it. In fact, about 37 percent of adults feel that they are not getting enough sleep.

For some, sleep deprivation is caused by snoring, sleep apnea or TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). Dr. Alvaro Ordoñez is trained in dental sleep medicine and specializes in the treatment of these conditions at his state-of-the-art facility, Miami Dental Center in Coral Gables.

Dr. Ordoñez received his training in TMJ disorders, dental occlusion and facial pain in an interdisciplinary program at Tufts University-New England Medical Center in Boston. He has been treating patients with dental sleep disorders with excellent results since 1993.

Dr. Ordoñez said that while some snoring can be harmless, it also can be a sign of a more serious medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). People with OSA experience a completely blocked airway during sleep, which restricts the flow of oxygen to the lungs and wakes up the body when the blood-oxygen level drops low. People with OSA are more tired and are four times more likely to have a heart attack.

Dr. Ordoñez treats patients who have been diagnosed by an accredited sleep center with sleep apnea, as well as those who suffer with TMJ, facial pain and occlusal disorders. As part of the medical team, he collaborates with the patient’s physician and sleep specialist to determine the best treatment plan.

For patients who have not responded to such treatments as sleep-position change or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, Dr. Ordonez offers a variety of treatment options, such as the Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS), that advance the mandible and open the airway to maintain a constant flow of air during sleep.

“Oral appliances that are similar to a mouth guard can be worn in the mouth to treat snoring and OSA,” Dr. Ordoñez said. “These appliances are custom designed and fitted to the patient. Oral appliance therapy also requires follow-up and maintenance to ensure that the patient is achieving the best result.”

TMJ includes problems with the teeth, muscles, ligaments, joint, neck and bones of the skull that prevent the jaw from moving and functioning correctly. The most common causes of TMJ are trauma to the face and jaws, clenching, grinding, missing teeth and stress. “TMJ symptoms can be very frustrating and painful,” Dr. Ordoñez said. “Many patients have learned to live with TMJ pain, but they don’t have to. Our goal is to provide an individual and precise treatment plan that will help eliminate a patient’s pain.”

Since many people who suffer from TMJ have missing teeth, a patient’s treatment plan may include the surgical placement of implants, which provide a functional and cosmetic solution.

In his practice of implant dentistry, Dr. Ordoñez utilizes the Iluma Cone Beam Computerized Tomogram (CBCT), a diagnostic tool that uses 3-D technology to show a patient’s hard and soft tissue structures.

“The CBCT allows for better diagnosis, measurement of the anatomical structures, and visualization of the remaining bone,” Dr. Ordoñez said. “The CBCT helps me to perform ‘virtual surgeries’ utilizing cuttingedge, implant planning software.”

Dr. Ordoñez has published articles and is an international speaker in the fields of dental implants, TMJ, dental occlusion and facial pain. He teaches and lectures at various universities and has been recognized by many educational institutions and dental societies.

Miami Dental Center is located at 1550 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 203, in the Riviera Theatre building in Coral Gables. For more information, call 305-666-3824 or visit online at

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