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March 3, 2016

Dear Dr. Blattner,

I would like to tell you a short story about teeth clenching, teeth grinding, and sleep apnea. Back in 2011, I started wearing an NTI (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition) mouth guard at night due to the recommendation of my dentist (you) because you could see that I was grinding and it was putting strain and wear on my teeth, of course. This mouth guard was a wonderful thing and the pain in my jaw in the mornings was completely gone and I had fewer headaches in the morning as well. I still never really felt rested in the mornings and was groggy, sometimes had a hard time concentrating at work, and felt depressed very often, but I just thought that was normal for a 47 year old female who smokes and is overweight. My children and significant other kept telling me that I snore like a bear, but I refused to believe them since I couldn’t bear it (ha- ha).

Finally in December 2013, while on vacation with my children and sharing the same room, they tape recorded my snoring and gasping for air. I was shocked and could hardly believe that was me, for it did sound like a big gigantic bear in the woods. I then discussed with my family medical doctor and he referred me to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. After visiting the ENT doctor, he sent me for a sleep study screening. Well, sure enough, I failed the test, was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and was instructed to get a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine to wear while sleeping. It was July, 2014 when I received my machine and at first it was so hard to get used to the mask and the cool mist air blowing. Now keep in mind that I was still wearing my NTI on my teeth under this mask for the grinding issue. I could sleep 5 hours and jump right up and feel as rested as sleeping eight hours. My energy level increased, my memory returned, I could definitely concentrate a lot better at work, and still no jaw aches. Life is good again. Wearing both the NTI and CPAP was no as normal as brushing my teeth.  If I would fall asleep on the couch watching tv or have to spend the night away from home without it, I would wake up feeling horrible.

Now fast forward to October 2015. My NTI had worn out and almost all the way through and my top front bridge had now cracked and had to be replaced. After getting all the bridge work completed, my dentist (you) recommended getting the oral appliance for treating both the sleep apnea and the grinding combined. I just got my oral appliance in February 2016 and life is good once again. I am sleeping like a baby and feel rested and energetic and jaw pains are gone once again. I believe the goal of the oral appliance may be to not only keep me from grinding my teeth but to take some of the work off the CPAP machine and eventually have the pressure settings lowered or possibly sleeping without it and only using the oral appliance. I can’t thank you, Dr. Blattner, enough for all the care and advice you have given me over the many years I have been your patient. I have confidence in you and trust you and would recommend you to anyone. So much for my short story…..

Pattie B August 1, 2016