Opening Hours : Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 9am-5pm Wed 9am-7pm
  Contact : (540) 351-0170

All Posts in Category: Blog

Who is at risk for TMD?

Being at risk for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) increases your likelihood of developing this condition. It is possible to develop TMD with or without the risk factors, but if you do have a number of those listed, it is important to ask your dentist what you might be able to do to reduce your risk. Some of the risk factors of TMD might include the following:

People that are stressed

If you’re under a lot of stress in your life, you may have an increased risk of TMD. Some of the stress-related habits that may increase your risk of TMD include habitually clenching and unclenching your jaw, grinding your teeth during the day and/or night in your sleep, or constantly chewing things, such as gum or ice.

People with certain medical conditions

There are various medical conditions that can also increase your risk of TMD, including misaligned teeth or bite, jaw or facial deformities, arthritic conditions and history of jaw or facial injuries.


While both men and women may suffer from TMD, women account for 90 percent of those that seek treatment. Research continues to be completed to determine a possible connection between hormones and TMD, indicated sometimes that men and women process pain signals differently.

People over the age of 30

Age can also play a factor in a person’s risk for developing TMD. Individuals with TMD are most likely to be between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age. This does not always mean a person will develop TMD, but they are more likely.

People experiencing injury

Trauma or injury to the jaw area can translate to long-term issues. TMD may develop if an injury causes dislocation of the jaw joint or movement of the disc and if muscles of opening and closing the jaw are weakened or strained, among other complicating jaw conditions.

Contact our Warrenton dentist, Dr. Bonnie Foster, if you fall into any of the categories above to see if you suffer from TMD.

Read More

What are the Different Types of Sleep Apnea?

From snoring to pauses in breathing, sleep apnea should not be taken lightly—in fact, you should receive proper treatment immediately. As with other diseases and conditions, there are different types of sleep apnea you might be suffering from. For this reason, it is important to understand each type in order to better understand your specific condition for proper diagnosis.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway. This often causes you to snore loudly—we know how disruptive that can be!

Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): Central sleep apnea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system. It occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. If you suffer from central sleep apnea it is likely that you seldom snore.

Complex Sleep Apnea: Complex sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. It is a form of sleep apnea in which central apneas persist or emerge during attempts to treat obstructive events with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bi-level device.

What are the Stages of Sleep Apnea?

In addition to the types of sleep apnea, there are also three stages that occur as well:

  • Mild is the first stage in which patients stop breathing 5-15 times per hour.
  • Moderate involves a stoppage of breathing 16-30 times per hour.
  • Severe, which means patients’ breathing stops more than 30 times per hour.

Contact our Warrenton dentist, Dr. Bonnie Foster, to gain a better understanding of your specific sleep apnea type and how treatment can help to improve your symptoms.

Read More

Is Your TMD Caused by Stress?

Maybe you’ve been trying to find the root cause for your TMD but are coming up short. For many, stress is the culprit. It affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. In fact, about 77 percent of people in the United States have reported that they experienced physical symptoms due to stress. Let’s take a look at how you can combat stress to help alleviate your TMD symptoms.

Adopt Awareness. If you are feeling stressed, take a moment to check and see if you’re carrying tension in your jaw. You might even notice that you are grinding your teeth. If so, it’s important to be able to pinpoint these moments throughout the day. The more you can make yourself aware of the situation, the faster you’ll be able to stop yourself from clenching and grinding when you feel anxious. When this happens, loosen your jaw and massage the muscles.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep. You should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night in order to feel fully rested the next day. Having trouble sleeping? Make sure that electronic devices, caffeine or afternoon naps aren’t to blame. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature and leave distractions out of the bedroom for a restful sleep.

Eat Right. Your diet and stress are closely linked, and often times we don’t eat healthy when we have an impending deadline or a long workday. It’s sometimes faster just to run to the vending machine for a sugary snack than it is to pack something healthy. However, try to plan ahead before you leave for work. Be sure to stock up on fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega-3s, which have been shown to reduce stress. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the sudden energy zap that often accompanies chowing down on a candy bar.

Exercise Regularly. Exercise is anything that gets the blood flowing, which triggers endorphins. Take a quick jaunt around the office or take a quick walk during your lunch break. You wouldn’t believe how just a little bit of movement throughout the day can instantly brighten a stressed mood.

Have any other tips for how you deal with stress? If so, we would love to hear them. If you’re currently dealing with TMD and need relief from your symptoms, contact Dr. Bonnie Foster, our dentist in Warrenton.

Read More

A Sleep Apnea History Lesson

Sleep apnea has been observed since ancient times and, while a treatment or cause was not clear, people were still aware of this condition. In the late 19th century, the term “Pickwickian syndrome” was created to describe symptoms of sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the research mainly concentrated on the patient’s obesity rather than the disordered breathing experienced during sleep. In 1965, the first polysomnograph recorded apneas during sleep. Further research determined that obesity was not essential for sleep apnea, but there were other comorbidities associated with it.

The First Sleep Clinic

Sleep apnea research continued and the first sleep clinic was created at Stanford University in California in 1970 by William Dement. Two years later, Christian Guilleminault joined the clinic and concentrated on respiratory disorders during sleep. As the years went on, research on sleep apnea continued to improve as more medical professionals grew interested in sleep disordered breathing.

Between 1975 and 1980, there were 319 articles on sleep apnea appearing in medical literature. This increase in awareness would pave the way for advanced treatment options to successfully help patients get a better night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea continues to expand as more and more medical fields continue to explore causes, symptoms and treatment options. To learn more about sleep apnea and its history, contact our Warrenton dentist, Dr. Bonnie Foster.

Read More

Your Sleep Position Can Make All the Difference

By understanding different sleep positions, you can better understand how to improve your sleep patterns because your position when you sleep directly affects your quality of sleep. Let’s take a look at the best and worst positions for sleeping—you may second-guess how you sleep. Let’s start with the worst positions to avoid before we take a closer look at positions that might be the best.

Avoid the Worst Positions

There really is not a “worst” position (technically) because we each sleep differently. For one person sleeping on the back might be the best, while another might be a side sleeper. To determine the best and worst position for you, simply sleep. Yes, that’s right—sleep.

However, if you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, back sleeping is a big no-no. By sleeping on your back you may obstruct your airway, so try to sleep on your side to open your airway up again. An oral appliance will help with this as well.

Choose the Best Position

Suffering from sleep apnea means that side sleeping may be the best choice because it helps keep your airways open. Research suggests that sleeping on your left side can relieve heartburn symptoms, while right side sleeping makes them worse.

To help determine the best sleep position for your individual needs, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Go with the flow. If you try to change your natural sleep position, you could potentially harm the quality of your sleep.
  • The mattress matters. The condition of your mattress will often dictate your sleep position. An old, worn-out mattress that sags in the middle might make sleeping on your side or stomach difficult.
  • Take Sides. Most people are side sleepers, but the jury is still out on which side is more popular—left or right. You might stick with one position most of the time, but as you age your position may shift.
  • No one stays in one position. Staying in the same position all night is bad for circulation—and it varies from person to person.

Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to learn more about sleeping positions and sleep apnea in Warrenton, VA.

Read More

Sleep Apnea is bad for Your Health

It’s true that sleep apnea has negative consequences on your overall health. In fact, a lack of sleep can lead to exhaustion and crankiness, but long-term sleep disruption can lead to serious health conditions, too. Approximately 25 million adults in the United States suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine), which is why it is important to seek treatment immediately. Some health complications associated with sleep apnea include the following:

Heart Disease

A common affliction for those with sleep apnea is heart disease. Those who suffer from heart disease as a result from sleep apnea may have an increased chance of dying by as much as five times the amount of those without sleep apnea. And, as one of the leading causes of death in the country, heart disease can easily be prevented.


Yes, sleep apnea can even lead to depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that women who are suffering from untreated sleep apnea have a five times greater risk for symptoms of depression. On the other hand, men who have untreated sleep apnea are more than twice as likely to exhibit signs of clinical depression.


As you may know, obesity is the leading cause of sleep apnea, as well as diabetes. Put the two together and your risk goes higher for each. According to research by “Frontiers in Neurology”, up to 83% of Type 2 diabetes patients have sleep apnea and may not have even been aware they had it. When a patient is unaware, it hinders their ability to receive proper treatment, and that means you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms to further educate yourself and your loved ones.

By getting screened for sleep apnea, you’re on the right track toward improving your overall health too. Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton, VA to learn more about sleep apnea and how you can protect yourself from further health complications.

Read More

The Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Over 25 million people suffer from sleep apnea, which means it is important to understand the risk factors involved. While sleep apnea is a deadly disease, it is a highly preventable one when proper treatment is completed. To help you better understand sleep apnea, let’s take a look at the warning signs and who is at risk:

Overweight Individuals

The population most at risk for experiencing sleep apnea is overweight individuals. This is due to excess tissue that places pressure on the airway. More than half of those with sleep apnea are classified as overweight. And this is an issue we need to start tackling faster than ever. The risk of developing sleep apnea significantly increases with increased weight, age and those with diabetes. This is also the case for smokers, too.

Gender and Race

Your gender also says a lot about sleep apnea and your chances of developing this condition. It is more common for men than women to develop sleep apnea. Additionally, sleep apnea is more common among African Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders than Caucasians.

Constricted Shape of Nose, Mouth or Throat

Take a look at the shape and size of your features, such as your nose, mouth or neck. If you have a constricted shape or small size nose, mouth or throat, you might have a greater chance for developing sleep apnea. Allergies and other medical conditions can also cause features along the airway to restrict the flow of oxygen, further worsening sleep apnea.

Understanding the risks and warning signs of sleep apnea can help you find the right form of treatment before further complications arise. Contact Dr. Bonnie Foster to find out if you have sleep apnea.

Read More

4 Types of Headaches You Never Knew Existed

While headaches definitely are not fun, it might be worth your time to try to think about what type of headache you might be experiencing. All headaches are not the same, so don’t lump them all in one description. You might have heard about tension headaches, migraines, and cluster headaches, but did you know there are other types? Here are four headaches you might not be aware existed.

  1. Depression Headaches

Yes, depression headaches are a thing and you should not ignore it. Depression isn’t just an emotional and mental issue. When a person suffers from chronic depression, their body might also respond with aches and pains, even leading to headaches. To treat both your depression and headache, it is important to visit your doctor. With a proper diagnosis, your doctor can provide you with an appropriate treatment plan for both your headache and depression symptoms.

  1. Rebound Headaches

Taking too many medications to cure your headache can lead to further headaches. By routinely taking certain medication you might think you are preventing headaches, but that is not the case. Medications most commonly associated with rebound headaches include:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Combination medications containing caffeine

If any of these medications have been overused, the best source of action is to discontinue using it. It might take approximately 8-12 weeks before the medication has completely cleared your system, which means a more structured approach to headache treatment and prevention can then be pursued.

  1. Hypertension Headaches

This type of headache is a generalized or “hair band” headache, which is usually worse in the morning. It slowly goes away as the day goes on, but that doesn’t mean it is any less painful or irritating. Make sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly and take prescribed blood pressure medicine to prevent these from occurring.

  1. Post Traumatic Headaches

It’s easy to confuse post traumatic headaches with migraines or tension headaches. However, these differ because they often occur every day and a simple pain reliever, such as Tylenol, does not help. Pain often begins aver a minor trauma, but it is difficult for doctors to pinpoint the cause and properly diagnose it. The best way to overcome your headache is to prevent a buildup of stress caused by trauma.

Contact our Warrenton dentist, Dr. Bonnie Foster, to learn more about headaches and how to minimize your pain.

Read More

Women are at a High Risk for Developing TMJ Disorders

Did you know that women are more likely to develop temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders (TMD) than any other individual?  As a woman, you might be more prone to developing this disorder, but there are ways for you to prevent it from occurring.  Let’s take a closer look.

Women and TMD

Pain affects everyone differently—headaches and facial pain are commonly caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), affecting more women than men.  Women who have facial pain, migraines and neck pain due to their TMJ problems may spend years seeking a diagnosis, but never getting the right one.  Dr. Bonnie Foster, our dentist in Warrenton, works with her patients to find the cause to your pain and provides the best treatment available for TMJ problems.

If you experience frequent headaches, feel pain in your jaw, neck or upper back, hear a clicking noise in your jaw or your ears feel stuffy, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder (TMD). Appropriate treatment from Dr. Foster can help to relieve your pain without a lifetime of pills.

While women tend to experience TMJ pain more often than men, many men still suffer from TMD, but will often ignore their symptoms. TMJ pain is real and it can be debilitating.  By scheduling a consultation with Dr. Foster, you can take the next steps toward a pain free life.  Please contact Dr. Bonnie Foster in Warrenton for TMD care and to learn more about combatting your pain.

Read More

Going to Bed Later Can Mean Weight Gain

What time do you typically go to bed at? Is it later than 9 pm, or even midnight? Do you find yourself sleeping in later and even eating later, too? If you do, then you might be at a significant risk for weight gain (yikes!).

Late sleepers consumed about 248 calories a day, mainly at dinner and later in the evening. In fact, these individuals ate half as many fruits and vegetables, twice the amount of fast food and even drank more full-calorie sodas than those who had earlier bed times.

Why the Weight Gain?

By consuming extra daily calories, it can mean a significant increase in weight gain. With almost two pounds extra a month, people are shown to gain more weight than expected when exercise is also not included. In a study from Northwestern Medicine, 51 participants were followed—23 were late sleepers and 28 were normal sleepers with the average age of 30 years old.

The late sleepers went to sleep at an average time of 3:45 a.m. and woke up by 10:45 a.m. and ate breakfast at noon, lunch at 2:30 pm, dinner at 8:15 pm and a final meal at 10 pm. Normal sleepers on average were up by 8:00 am, ate breakfast by 9 am, lunch at 1 pm, dinner at 7 pm, a last snack at 8:30 pm and were asleep by 12:30 am.

Not only was the number of calories consumed each day key in weight gain, but so was the timing. For those who ate after 8:00 pm,  they were more likely to have a higher BMI, even after controlling for sleep timing and duration. These findings were relevant to people who are not very successful in losing weight.

It’s Time to Lose Weight

In order to maintain your health, it is important to lose weight—this is especially true if you currently suffer from sleep apnea in Warrenton. Remember to tailor your weight loss plans to your current health needs, medications and lifestyle.

If you are also experiencing joint pain and inability to move hydrotherapy might work well. By exercising in water it can help make it easier for mobility despite high body mass index, arthritic hips and knees.

Please contact Dr. Bonnie Foster, our dentist in Warrenton, to learn more about sleep apnea, weight loss and how you can take the next steps toward weight loss for health improvement.

Read More