Sleep Apnea and TMJ: How Are They Connected?

September 13, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — alamosprings @ 4:23 am
woman dealing with TMJ disorder

If you’re suffering from TMJ and sleep apnea in San Antonio, you may wonder how the two are connected. While one impairs your ability to open and close your mouth with ease, the other keeps you from feeling rested and refreshed on a day-to-day basis. What you may not realize is that these two conditions are closely linked but can be treated with the same solution – oral appliance therapy. Read on to find out more about this relationship and how your dentist can help.

The Link Between TMJ and Sleep Apnea

Similar to the question many ask when it comes to “What comes first, the chicken or the egg,” you may wonder if TMJ leads to sleep apnea or vice versa. What can normally happen is that when you suffer from sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the brain must alert the body to breathe. As a result, you may shift your jaw in such a way that it causes your mouth to part and your airway to open. Because this can happen multiple times each night, the continual motion causes the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to become stressed. This leads to added tension in this area.

When suffering from TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), you might also experience extreme fatigue because of the discomfort you experience throughout the night, making it difficult to achieve adequate rest.

How Oral Appliances Can Help

Attempting to find a solution that will address both your TMJ and sleep apnea might seem impossible, but the good news is that with the help of a skilled and trusted dentist, you can achieve much-needed relief.

Oral appliance therapy is a commonly used form of treatment that is designed to improve not only your jaw positioning but also your ability to breathe freely throughout the night. Customized to fit comfortably inside your mouth, it has multiple purposes that all prove beneficial.

Not only can these devices eliminate the potential for worn tooth enamel caused by teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), but they can also shift your jaw in a way that relaxes the TMJs and keeps your airway open.

As a result, over time, you will begin to notice a significant difference in how you feel when you wake as well as the ability to open and close your mouth without experiencing pain or discomfort. Not only will you be able to eat your favorite foods again, but you’ll feel more rested and able to complete daily tasks with greater ease.

If you are suffering from TMJ and sleep apnea, don’t wait to seek help. Find a dentist near you who can provide oral appliance therapy so that you can embrace a better quality of life.

About the Authors
Dr. Michele Moreno and Dr. Aiyana Zenobia Anderson are here to deliver specialized care for patients in need. If you’re suffering from TMJ and sleep apnea, we can provide the treatment you need. With oral appliance therapy, we will work to fit you with a customized device that keeps your airway open and eases the tension placed on your jaw joints. Contact us at (210) 463-9339 to find out if you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy and how you can get started.

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