Could TMJ Disorder Be the Cause of Your Sleep Problems?

tmj disorder linked to sleep apnea

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It seems like more people than ever are struggling with getting enough sleep each night. Most doctors look at chemical imbalances and stress as possible causes, but there’s something they often overlook: Jaw pain and how a misaligned jaw can affect our sleep!

A serious condition, known as TMJ disorder, can lead to severe jaw pain, dental breakdown, and sleep disturbances.

What causes this disorder? Many might not know this, but this can be caused by jaw misalignment. A misaligned jaw can affect sleep and when a patient comes into my TMJ dental practice in Noblesville, Indiana, I always check for misalignment. When I’ve determined that a patient has TMJ disorder, I want to take care of the situation quickly.

The reason: Misalignment can lead to a plethora of other problems.

Patients with TMJ disorder typically end up with:

  • Ear aches
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Tinnitus
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locking jaw joints
  • Chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Bruxism (grinding of the teeth)

When the teeth or jaw is out of alignment, there’s no bite pressure balance. Therefore, the teeth that take the brunt of the force end up cracking or breaking. Additionally, chronic bruxism can lead to wear facets in the biting surfaces of the teeth. When enamel breaks down, cavities soon follow.

A misaligned jaw can affect sleep. There are multiple factors, including genetics, poor dental health, and trauma. Missing teeth can lead to misalignment, as can a blow to the jaw joint, face, or head. With the jaw out of alignment, strain is put upon the muscles, joints, and other tissues, which leads to jaw pain.

Jaw pain, misalignment, and sleep disturbances – What’s the Connection?

When we experience jaw pain due to misalignment, it isn’t easy to sleep. Any type of pain can keep us up, but jaw pain is especially exasperating. But it’s not just the pain that can keep us up. The sound of grinding our teeth can actually wake us up at night. And misalignment can make it difficult to breathe, even leading to sleep apnea.

If not treated by a TMJ and sleep apnea dentist, these sleep disturbances can get progressively worse.

For instance, sleep apnea can lead to:

  • Weight gain and obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Death.

This is a serious issue, and getting assistance from a dental professional is vital.

3 Ways a sleep apnea and TMJ dentist helps patients get a better night’s sleep

A Noblesville dentist can help reduce jaw pain and sleep disturbances in the following ways.

  1. A TMJ Dentist Can Help Determine the Cause of Sleep Disturbances
    The first thing I do when patients come for an appointment, is determine whether their sleep issues are caused by a jaw misalignment. If I suspect they have sleep apnea, I’ll recommend dental treatments, as well as a visit to their general physician to order a sleep study.
  2. A Noblesville Dentist Can Work to Prevent Misalignments
    Prevention is something my team and I are passionate about. We want to help our patients reduce their risk of decay, gum disease, and other dental issues by taking preventative action. This can range from regular dental exams and cleanings to wearing a nightguard to prevent bruxism.
  3. A Sleep Apnea Dentist Can Offer Effective Treatment Options
    In my TMJ dentist practice, patients can receive treatments and products that can reduce the effects of jaw pain and misalignment. They’ll also improve sleep!

These products and treatments include:

  • Mouth guards to protect the teeth from bruxism
  • Treatment from a TENS unit
  • An orthotic stabilizer
  • Bite adjustment/equilibration
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • MicroO2™ – a CPAP alternative.
  • Realigning your bite

Improving sleep can improve our overall quality of life

Not only will treatment from a sleep apnea and TMJ dentist help improve our jaw pain and dental health, it can do wonders for our overall health. The body uses the time we are asleep to repair and rejuvenate itself. So, when we sleep better, our risk of developing sleep apnea, heart disease, and a weakened immune system is lowered.

We should never take sleep for granted. Anyone experiencing lack of sleep due to jaw pain should see Noblesville dentist – Dr. Mike Deldar, as soon as possible.

Do you wake up tired in the morning? Do you experience a lot of jaw pain? Contact our sleep apnea and TMJ expert dentist in Indianapolis – Dr. Deldar, to find out if you have jaw misalignment or not. If you do, we’ll create a treatment plan that will help you get out of pain and get a better night’s sleep!

Why is my jaw aching so much?

Dr. Mike Deldar at Deldar Dental:
When you experience jaw pain, I am aware it can affect your entire life. Their daily life, work, sleep, and relationships can be heavily impacted by an ongoing strain around the jaw. Some people seek treatment immediately, some are determined to ‘live through it’, some seek more information to define the road ahead towards jaw pain relief.

When you don’t know what is causing your jaw pain, it’s hard to make a plan to get rid of it. You might have done some Internet research and came across TMJ Disorder.

Though the Internet is an amazing resource for information, some articles can reflect contradicting causes, view points and treatment approaches. It’s only natural that this “wealth” of Internet information can also lead to great confusion.

When you are at the point to take resolute action to get rid of your jaw pain, but you don’t know exactly what to do, you’re not alone. At this very moment, there must be thousands of people looking at their laptop, tablet, or smart phone, to obtain answers about their condition. I will sincerely try to provide you with valuable answers on this page.

Dr Mike Deldar
Neuromuscular Dentist Noblesville / Indianapolis

Why is my jaw popping?

As with anything you use daily, over time, there is going to be significant wear and tear. The same principle applies to your teeth. Think about it: you use them repeatedly, day-in and day-out. Practically everything you do requires the use of your teeth. Each day, your teeth contribute to your ability to talk, breathe, kiss, eat, drink and swallow. You chew, bite, grind, brush, floss, and generally (albeit unconsciously) abuse them.

When you have a misaligned jaw and a subsequent bad bite, the wear and tear on your teeth is significantly more rapid and rigorous. The erosion on your teeth can lead to uneven tooth wear, loss of range of jaw motion, gum recession and various other symptoms – this is all connected to TMJ.

Clicking, popping, jaw pain….what’s going on?

When you bite down, do you experience pain?
Are your restricted in the amount you can open your mouth?
When you chew or even flex your face – does it result in popping or clicking?
Have friends or family member commented on how loud that pop was?
When you yawn or talk, do you feel as though you need to help support your jaw?

If you answered yes to even one of those questions, something isn’t right. A healthy and normal TMJ is quiet when it’s working. During eating, chewing, singing, swallowing, talking and even breathing – you would feel no discomfort or experience anything unusual.

The muscles that control your jaw should work in harmony, allowing you to open and close your mouth both smoothly and silently. If you notice a constant clicking, popping and snapping when you engage in everyday activities, these are indicators that your jaw joint is unstable.

How do I know if I have a misaligned bite?

You have a disc of cartilage inside of your jaw joint which keeps the joint from rubbing together. When the jaw muscles move this disc out of place, the joints end up rubbing together, causing the clicking and popping sound you hear. Sometimes, it is loud enough to be heard by other people.

When your jaw is misaligned and not properly supported, it can be limited in its range of motion. Were you are at a friend’s dinner party and suddenly couldn’t open your mouth wide enough to eat? It’s more common than you think.

If you suffer from TMJ, the ability to open your mouth fully or widely can be limited and painful. Something is clearly wrong. You will have to seek treatment to get rid of these (TMJ) symptoms, or things will get worse.

Could my jaw pain be TMJ related?

What is TMJ Disorder?

This name applies to many conditions that impact the temporomandibular joints. These important joints connect your jaw to your skull. TMJ Disorder or TMD for short, can throw off your jaw’s alignment. This causes several symptoms throughout your face and body.

I see it again and again: patients don’t realize that TMJ can cause pain in other areas of the body. In fact, TMJ often causes aches and pain in your neck, back, and shoulders.

TMJ Treatment Options

Our comprehensive TMJ treatment plan includes a few steps. This plan targets the painful symptoms while healing the root cause.

  1. Initial pain relief with Ultra-Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (TENS) is an excellent drug-free method. This technique improves blood flow and promotes natural pain relief from endorphins.
  2. Adjusting your bite. I use a non-invasive, custom-built orthotic that can gently balance your jaw to its optimum position.
  3. Making it last. This step varies depending on your personal needs. Methods may include braces, adjusting your tooth enamel, crowns, or full smile makeovers. The goal is to stop what’s causing your TMJ disorder at the source while enhancing your bite at the same time.

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