TMJ Dysfunction and Sleep Therapy Specialist Q&A
If you are finding you are having issues with your TMJ dysfunction and sleep apnea, contact Inspire Dental today! We can offer recommendations to help you sleep better and provide treatment options to make your sleep as comfortable as possible. Call us for more information or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you in Alpharetta GA, Roswell GA, and Sandy Springs GA.
How is Sleep Apnea and TMJ dysfunction connected?
TMJ dysfunction and sleep apnea are two conditions that can develop together and even reinforce one another. The shape of our jaws is created by the constant pressures of our body’s components. It can make it difficult to breathe through the nose due to the restrictive nature of our facial features and/or allergies which can lead to loud mouth breathing during sleep. The jaw then becomes shifted backwards as a result, which contributes to the narrowing of the airway.
There are many other factors as well as to why TMJ dysfunction can worsen, these factors contribute to rearward position of the jaw, with orthodontics, tooth wear, and poorly designed and fitted dental restorations.
Sleep apnea can and in many cases does worsen TMJ dysfunction. When your brain notices your oxygen levels dropping, it starts to send signals to multiple systems in your body like your heart, to pump harder and faster to create more oxygen for the brain. The brain will then also start seeking other open airways by contracting the jaw muscles, which makes them clench and stabilize the open airway. This repeated clenching of your jaw is only one of the causes which contributes to jaw joint damage, tooth wear and many other oral issues.
If you have sleep apnea, look for the following TMJ dysfunction symptoms:
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Jaw pain or soreness
- Jaw popping or clicking
- Irregular jaw motions
- Ear pain including stuffiness in the ears, ringing in the ears or even vertigo
- Face and neck pain
- Tooth damage
- Tingling and numbness
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact Inspire Dental for TMJ dysfunction treatment options to help you.
Can TMJ dysfunction occur due to grinding your teeth in your sleep?
Grinding or clenching of your teeth is also known as bruxism and can happen involuntarily. During sleep bruxism, it forces the grinding while you sleep, as you are not aware of what your body is doing during its sleeping hours, it can apply substantial pressure which can lead to wearing down of your teeth, causing intense jaw and neck pain, induce tension headaches and lead to many long-term issues with TMJ dysfunction.
How can I improve my TMJ dysfunction and Sleep?
Sleep is one of the most important routine processes we can do as individuals to increase our overall health naturally. Patients that are unable to get the proper sleep they need are impacted greatly physically and mentally, which can lead to significant health issues down the road. For patients who deal with TMJ dysfunction, sleep can be a massive hurdle in itself to overcome. One wrong position can flare TMJ dysfunction, and cause havoc on your entire body, this is why it is so important you find a comfortable and proper sleeping position that works for you.
For patients who are suffering from TMJ dysfunction and looking for better ways to improve their sleep, it is vital to understand you need the correct neck and head support. Number one recommendation we offer is investing in proper pillows which allows you the correct support needed to alleviate any tension and overcompensation of your facial and neck muscles. Make sure to continue to prioritize correct support. If you notice you are having issues even after, it is critical you speak to your dentist about the issues you are suffering from, as they can provide custom oral appliances specifically for you to wear at night which can help alleviate any of these issues and your TMJ dysfunction condition.
One of the best sleep positions patients who deal with TMJ dysfunction is sleeping on your back, this helps to keep your head and neck properly aligned. Sleeping on your back also lowers the risk of any teeth clenching or jaw grinding you may have previously dealt with.
What treatment options are available for sleep apnea and TMJ dysfunction?
There are a few treatment options available for our patients who deal with sleep apnea and TMJ dysfunction, it includes CPAP machines which is continuous positive airway pressure, and OAT which is an oral appliance therapy. These appliances can be effective for patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea and TMJ dysfunction. Our clinic offers unique integration of dental services and exceptionally caring staff that always act in the best interest of our patients. This is why so many choose Inspire Dental. We serve patients in Alpharetta GA, Roswell GA, Sandy Springs GA, Crabapple GA, Johns Creek GA, Big Creek GA, Milton GA, Cumming GA, Norcross GA, East Cobb GA, Peachtree Corners GA, Atlanta GA, Marietta GA, Dunwoody GA, Brookhaven GA, Buckhead GA and throughout the Metropolitan area.