Could TMJ Disorder Be the Cause of Your Sleep Problems?

Dr. Mike DeldarAbout Sleep Apnea, TMJ

TMJ disorder linked to sleep apnea and other disorders. Image of a man with jaw pain.

Pain, lack of sleep, exhaustion, inability to think straight, feeling like you can’t make it through the day– does this describe you? Unfortunately, it describes daily life for many of our patients who are dealing with a sleep disorder here in Noblesville and Carmel, Indiana.

If you’ve been dealing with a lack of sleep, been diagnosed with sleep apnea or have been experiencing a lot of headaches, there may be an issue at hand that you haven’t yet considered: TMJ disorder.

What is TMJ? What are the symptoms? And how can TMJ disorder affect your sleep and the function of your every day life?

What is TMJ disorder and what are the symptoms?

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint; in other words – your jaw joint where the lower jaw connects to the upper jaw. There is a joint on each side of your face, so there’s double the opportunity for pain. When someone has issues with their TMJ, this is simply called TMD, or Temporomandibular disorder.

Symptoms of TMD include jaw pain, as well as pain throughout the head, neck and shoulders. Sometimes people experience discomfort while chewing, especially crunchy or hard foods. Some have even experienced lock jaw, the inability to open or close the mouth for a period of time.

How TMJ disorder linked to sleep apnea and other sleep disorders

Recently, dental and sleep researchers have found that a disorder of the TMJ can contribute to sleep problems, including sleep apnea. While the research is still fairly new, it seems that Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is definitely related to chronic pain disorders, which includes TMJ disorder.

A common symptom of OSA is headaches. It is quite possible that these headaches are due to a jaw disorder. The muscles of the temple and forehead work hand-in-hand with the muscles of the jaw. If a patient is clenching or grinding their teeth at night—as is common in people with a jaw disorder—this could lead to headaches.

It hasn’t yet been determined exactly how the two are intertwined; however, as reported in the Journal of Dental Research, participants in a study who had OSA symptoms also had a 73 percent higher rate of TMD symptoms.

How jaw pain and a sleep disorder can contribute to problems at work

When a patient with OSA and headaches sees a dentist, they are one step closer to reducing or even eliminating their pain. Though studies aren’t yet conclusive, there may be an improvement in OSA symptoms once the jaw disorder has been treated.

If you’ve experienced the following, it’s time to talk to your dentist.

1. Being so tired that it’s difficult to function at work.

2. Irritability due to a lack of sufficient or restful sleep.

3. Difficulty concentrating on the task at hand or even while engaged in conversation.

4. Depression.

5. Memory problems.

6. No social life because of being too tired to engage.

7. Health problems due to a lack of activity because of being too tired.

8. Impotence.

9. Many more including hospitalization.

Your Noblesville and Carmel Dentist can help you with your jaw and sleep issues

Especially with caring for our TMJ patient, we see first hand that dealing with pain and a lack of sleep is no way to live. I really understand what a strain these can put on your daily life—both socially and professionally. You don’t have to keep suffering, though. With the right treatments and assistance from Indiana TMJ specialist, Dr. Deldar, you can quickly find relief from pain, sleep through the night and wake refreshed and ready to tackle your day.

If you’ve been dealing with sleep issues and/or head or jaw pain, contact Deldar Dental today. We can help you find relief and get life back to normal.

Noblesville, Carmel, Hamilton County IN Community Tips

Carmel, Indiana's Veteran's Day Parade logoFor Veteran’s Day, we’ll be attending the City Of Carmel Veteran’s Day Ceremony at the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. We encourage you to bring your family in honoring our fallen heroes.

For more info, check out City of Carmel’s Veteran’s Day website.