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Is There a Link Between Sleep Apnea and TMJ?

added on: April 20, 2023
All About Smiles in Wilmington

Have you ever had pain just below your ears, right about your jawbone? That’s called your temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Has it ever made a strange popping sound when you’re trying to speak or chew? That’s all bad enough, right? What if you were also exhausted during the day and weren’t getting enough of the right kind of sleep? That sounds like a recipe for disaster! Actually, it could be sleep apnea that’s linked to your TMJ, and your Wilimgton holistic dentist will explain.

What is Sleep Apnea?

You might hear of different types of this disorder, but obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is the most common. It occurs when you’re not breathing correctly while sleeping, which could lead to loud snoring, OSA’s most obvious symptom. Here are some others to be on the lookout for:

  • Consistent exhaustion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Stopping breathing while sleeping
  • Sudden awakenings with gasping or a choking
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased libido
  • Nighttime sweating

It’s also not uncommon to have changes in your mood, such as depression and irritability, which is easy to understand when you’re constantly dealing with feeling not like yourself. 

How are Sleep Apnea and TMJ Linked?

Studies show that nearly half of the folks with TMJ can’t sleep well, either. OSA means your airway often collapses, which can lead your jaw muscles to be out of balance. This constant back and forth leads to problems with your TMJ, and you might not even know you’re doing it because you’re asleep. Your Wilmington holistic dentist can help you discover your symptoms that could be related to either of these two conditions, which are becoming more common among patients of all ages. 

What Can I Do to Find Some Relief?

It would help if you talked to Dr. Grace Liu and Dr. Lewis Yu at All About Smiles about how you’re feeling. They can look at how all of these things you’re experiencing factor together with your oral and overall health. That’s part of what we do at our holistic and biological dental office in Wilmington. Call us for a consultation and start the conversation so that we can help you heal for improved oral health and well-being.

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