How TMJ and Sleep Apnea Are Intertwined

Being aware of your surroundings, your body, and anything going on in your life is important, but did you know that 80 percent of people who grind their teeth are unaware that they have a problem, to begin with? Teeth grinding or bruxism is a condition in which patients grind their teeth typically during sleep or stressful situations. Persistent bruxism can result in further oral issues such as temporomandibular joint disorder which causes damage to the temporomandibular joint— leaving patients in pain and discomfort.

Although your temporomandibular joint is in your jaw, it exhibits itself in a variety of other symptoms including headaches, hearing problems, vision problems, clicking of the jaw, shoulder pain, tingling in the arms and hands, and even sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.

How Are TMJ and Sleep Apnea Intertwined?

First things first, not all patients who have TMJ have sleep apnea and vice versa. However, when patients suffer from TMJ, their jaw can become misaligned which affects the overall size of the mouth. This change in size can sometimes make it difficult for the mouth to properly accommodate the tongue— causing the tongue to fall back into the mouth during deep sleep cycles and obstruct the patient’s airway. This type of obstruction can lead to pauses in breathing or even shallow breathing which is the condition that is most commonly known as sleep apnea.

Patients who experience sleep disorders such as sleep apnea live a lower quality of life because their body is not only unable to regenerate itself each night but because they are at a higher risk of developing heart failure and stroke. Luckily, by getting to the root of your sleep disorder, you can start a treatment plan to correct the issue before it gets worse.

To learn more about TMJ treatments, schedule your consultation with our Centennial Dental Center office today!