January 21, 2021
If you’re one of the 40 million Americans who is affected by a sleep condition, or you have occasional issues with getting good rest, you may be all too familiar with how this issue can impact your quality of life. You’ve probably tried a variety of solutions, but did you know that many who suffer from sleep disorders also have problems with their temporomandibular joint (TMJ)? Read on to learn how TMJ disorder can influence your sleep and what you can do to get relief!
But First, What is TMJ Disorder?
The TMJ is the joint that attaches your lower jaw to your head. Specifically, it’s where the jaw fits into the skull, supported by muscles in your face. This allows you to speak, chew, swallow, and yawn—all important parts of your daily life. However, it can be the start of a variety of problems if it’s not functioning properly. This disorder can cause discomfort and pain in other parts of the body, and it’s symptoms, including sleep apnea, can make it more difficult to get shuteye.
How Do You Know if You Have TMJ Disorder?
It’s estimated that over 44 million Americans have TMJ disorder. While it can affect anyone, studies show that it seems to impact woman more than men. You may have TMJ disorder if you notice these common warning signs:
- Pain when chewing
- General discomfort or soreness in the jaw
- Limited movement of the jaw
- Ringing in the ears
- Jaw clicking
- Grating or popping of the jaw joint
Most of these symptoms are caused by muscle tension and jaw misalignment. Some minor issues can be relieved with rest, a soft diet, and TMJ/jaw exercises, however persistent warning signs will disrupt your sleep and become difficult to correct if left untreated.
How Does TMJ Disorder Affect Your Sleep?
One of the most common sleep disorders is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the jaw, tongue, and/or throat muscles relax so much that they collapse and block your airway. This makes it difficult to breathe, causing restlessness throughout the night. So what does this have to do with TMJ disorder? Research shows that many sleep apnea cases have TMJ issues to blame.
The tongue’s position is affected by the alignment of your upper and lower teeth, which is impacted by your TMJ. When there is misalignment, your tongue can block your airway during sleep, causing you to wake up throughout the night. Thankfully, this can be treated with a custom oral appliance from your dentist, which can also be combined with physical therapy and medication. This treatment relieves stress and pressure put on your TMJ joints for amazing comfort and sleep.
Are you ready to get the sleep you deserve? Contact your dentist to kill two birds with one stone and get pain relief in your jaw for a better quality of life.
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Tad Morgan has decades of dental experience and over 1,000 hours of continuing education to ensure his patients have access to the latest and greatest treatments available. He has special training in treatment for sleep apnea and TMJ disorder, allowing him to help patients with much more than just their smiles. Contact Dr. Morgan through his website or by phone at (903) 825-1112 to schedule an appointment!