TMJ / Sleep Apnea

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and is often confused for TMD, temporomandibular disorder. TMJ is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMD refers to a collection of symptoms that occur when there is discomfort around or dysfunction of the TMJ.

Symptoms of TMD include facial muscle discomfort, a clicking sound from the TMJ, and swelling of your jaw. Headaches and earaches are also common when muscles around the TMJ are inflamed. In some instances, the joint itself is the cause of your discomfort and not the surrounding muscles.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a severe sleep disorder caused when your breathing is interrupted while you sleep. If your sleep apnea is untreated, you may stop breathing many times during your sleep. If your breathing is constantly interrupted, it can limit the amount of oxygen reaching your brain (as well as the rest of your body).

The two forms of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and central sleep apnea. Symptoms include loud snoring, morning headaches, irritability, forgetfulness, mood swings, sleepiness while driving, and waking up with a very dry or sore throat.

How Can Dentists help TMD and Sleep Apnea Sufferers?

Although both TMD and sleep apnea can be treated and diagnosed by medical doctors and specialists, dentists do have options that can help treat both disorders. For TMJ, we use dental splints (night guards) that slip over your teeth and prevent you from grinding your teeth at night. Teeth grinding is believed to be a major contributor to TMD.

Similarly, dentists can use Oral Appliance Therapy to help treat your obstructive sleep apnea. The oral appliance is like the dental splint, but is specifically designed to support your jaw in a position that maintains open the airway.

What are the Benefits of TMJ/TMD and Sleep Apnea Treatment?

  • Splints and oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear.
  • They are quiet and portable, which makes them convenient for travel.
  • They alleviate the symptoms of TMJ/TMD and sleep apnea, to help you sleep through the night and feel better throughout the day.

What is the Treatment Process Like?

Make an Appointment | Our dentists will examine you and discuss all options. X-rays may be taken. Be prepared to provide medical records of your condition, if necessary.
Mold | A mold will be created of your teeth. That mold will be sent out to a laboratory for manufacture.
Second Appointment | Once the splint or oral appliance has been created, it will be fitted to ensure comfort. Any discomfort or ill fit will be addressed at that time. If everything is good, just take it home and use as directed.

Don’t Sleep on Your Health!

Here at Denver Tech Dentistry, we’re ready to discuss treatment options with you. Don’t put it off. Call for an appointment today!