Is There a Link Between Sleep Apnea and TMJ? Our Sleep Apnea Dentist explains

link between sleep apnea and tmj

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While Sleep Apnea and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are very different things, you may be able to alleviate one by taking care of the other.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you know that it causes you to stop breathing throughout the night. This decreases the amount of oxygen that you intake and reduces the quality of sleep. If you don’t take care of a sleep apnea problem, you may face more significant issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, increased blood pressure, sleep deprivation, and more.

TMJ or TMD is a problem with the main jawbone. Frequently, those with TMJ will habitually clench their jaw or are prone to teeth grinding, which causes a misalignment to the jawbones. When this happens, sufferers will likely experience jaw pain, aching around the face and ears, clicking in the jaw while you are talking or chewing, and locking of the jaw joint.

Treating TMJ May Relieve Sleep Apnea Problems

Before you can address either of these conditions, you should go through a sleep test. This will allow for a better understanding of what is going on while you sleep and determine if apnea is part of the problem.

Once the problem has been pinpointed, there are several options in treatment when it comes to sleep apnea and TMJ. As your sleep apnea dentist in the Indianapolis area, I can help you by crafting a custom oral orthotic, similar to wearing a mouthguard, to help keep the jaw in its proper location. In turn, this works to reduce the number of non-breathing moments throughout the night.

3 Tips to Help Improve Your Sleep and Ease TMJ Symptoms

Many people will need to seek medical or dental advice to handle problems related to sleep apnea and TMJ. Rest assured, there are a few things that can be done to help alleviate some of the symptoms caused by TMJ. Following these tips can help lead to a more restful night’s sleep.

1. Take the Time to Stretch

Stretching your neck muscles throughout the day can keep everything loose. The direct connection between your jaw and neck muscles will help to alleviate aches and pains caused by TMJ. Additionally, loosening these muscles can decrease the potential for jaw misalignment, helping to ease apnea occurrences.

2. Exercise Your Jaw Muscles 

Exercising your mouth may sound like an odd suggestion. However, using your jaw muscles helps to ensure everything stays in alignment. 

To do this, you simply need to move your jaw slowly from side to side. 

This exercise should be done roughly five times per day in sets of ten. It will strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the jaw.

3. Avoid Items that Require Copious Amounts of Chewing 

When you are experiencing jaw pain, chewing can exacerbate it. By avoiding items like chewing gum, you will be giving your muscles time to recover and heal. Once they have improved, you are more likely to have proper jaw alignment and, thus, fewer moments when you stop breathing while sleeping.

Taking Care of Your Sleep Apnea and TMJ Issues is Only a Step Away

If you find that you are suffering from aches and pains in your neck or face when you wake up or you are tired all the time, you could be having problems with sleep apnea and/or TMJ. Addressing these issues with a medical professional is an excellent first step in dealing with the problem. You can have more energetic days and restful nights once you deal with the burdens of apnea and TMJ.

Are you looking for a Noblesville dentist to help with sleep apnea and TMJ issues? Deldar Dental has the solutions you need, schedule an appointment today!

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