TMJ and Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep disorders require a diagnosis from a sleep specialist, and your Parsippany dentist will work with your sleep doctor to find solutions to help you get a good night’s sleep. Because dentists are experienced in both jaw and dental anatomies, they are particularly well-equipped to help with both teeth grinding and sleep apnea.

Bruxism – The Nighttime Jaw Workout

Do you wake up with headaches, sensitive teeth, or a sore jaw? You might be grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding and clenching is also called bruxism.

Other signs include:

  • Bite marks inside the cheeks
  • Bony growths under the tongue
  • Worn or short teeth
  • Migraine
  • Tinnitus (ringing ears)
  • Cracked teeth

TMJ and TMD Treatments

Left untreated, bruxism can wear down the jaw joint. Your jaw joint is called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. A jaw condition is referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD.

Tight muscles keep the jaws from seating comfortably in their sockets. You might hear clicking or popping. In severe cases, the jaw can lock open or closed. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also feel painful.

Your jaw is incredibly strong. Overworked muscles can present as:

  • Swollen facial muscles
  • Neck aches
  • Headaches
  • Tingling
  • Shoulder pain

Fortunately, most treatments for TMD and bruxism are non-invasive. At Gruber Dental, we create custom oral appliances to help position the jaw comfortably and protect teeth by separating the upper and lower teeth. Our oral appliances, also called nightguards, bite splints, occlusal splints, or mouthguards, are designed just for you for a smooth and snug fit that stays put during sleep. Many over-the-counter appliances fall out or make breathing more difficult.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

When you drift off to sleep, muscles all over your body slowly relax and release. Your throat and tongue muscles are no exception. Unfortunately, this can result in a blocked airway that produces loud snoring or gasping during sleep.

Sleep apnea is more than a noisy nuisance for your sleep partner; it also leads to several serious health risks like heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and an increased risk of auto accidents.

Also, sleep apnea and a lack of restorative sleep can diminish your quality of life by causing daytime drowsiness, inability to concentrate, and mood changes.

Did You Know That Bruxism and Sleep Apnea Are Connected?

Both are common sleep disorders, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, one in four people who have obstructive sleep apnea also grind their teeth. Treating sleep apnea can also resolve your bruxism.

Your dentist can work in conjunction with a sleep specialist to create an oral appliance to open the airway by repositioning the jaw. Many people who have difficulty using their CPAP machine find that oral appliance therapy is easier to get used to.

Contact Our Parsippany Dental Team

Get in touch with our Parsippany, NJ dental office if you are looking for solutions for teeth grinding, painful TMJs, or for sleep apnea treatment.