Classic Dental Smiles > TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea

TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea

Rancho Bernardo Dentist

medical illustration of a jaw bone

Do you snore? Or have a popping or clicking jaw? You may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Both of these can lead to harmful health conditions, and severely disrupt your quality of life.

Did you know that Dr. Brian Chan can help you with these two conditions? You may not expect this from a dentist, as TMJ disorder and snoring are not related to the health of your teeth and gums. But they are aspects of your overall oral health, so Dr. Chan makes it a priority to offer non-surgical treatments for these two common complaints.

If you would like to learn more about finding relief from TMJ disorder and obstructive sleep apnea, contact our Rancho Bernardo, California dental office today at 858-485-6781 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chan.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Snoring is extremely common, and it can be caused by a number of factors, such as sleeping positions, respiratory illnesses, medications, or being overweight. But did you know that snoring is also a chief symptom of obstructive sleep apnea?

OSA induces periods of shallow breathing during sleep and even causes you to stop breathing altogether. When apnea episodes happen, your quality of sleep diminishes, and the effects can mimic those of sleep deprivation, ultimately contributing to a number of dangerous medical conditions. High blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a weakened immune system are connected to poor respiratory function during sleep. What’s more, reduced quality of sleep can lead to long-term effects on your mood, emotional well-being, and cognitive function.

If you snore, you may have undiagnosed OSA, and Dr. Chan can help. A custom-made oral appliance may control your snoring, by slightly shifting the lower jaw forward and opening up your airway as you sleep. These appliances are called mandibular advancement splints, and most patients do not have difficulty adjusting to wearing them when they sleep at night. Patients who have difficulty wearing continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines may find relief—and better overall sleep for you and your spouse—with an oral appliance.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder can affect anyone whose bite may be misaligned (maloccluded). If your teeth do not fit together evenly when you bite and chew, it can stress the jaw muscles and lead to a number of side effects, some of which can be painful and damaging to your oral health.

Well-known symptoms of this disorder include popping or clicking sensations and sounds when you open and close your jaw. But this is not the only symptom—you may suffer symptoms of an imbalanced bite and never notice any popping or clicking whatsoever.

TMJ disorder can also cause:

  • clenching or grinding your teeth when you sleep (bruxism).
  • broken or chipped molars.
  • headaches when you wake up in the morning.
  • stiffness around the jaw or tenderness in the muscles around the jaw, or neck.
  • difficulty in chewing or opening the mouth.

If you experience any of these symptoms, Dr. Chan will carefully examine your jaw and bite to determine whether you may benefit from TMJ disorder treatment. A misaligned bite may be caused by overbite, under bite, cross bite, or even an injury to the meniscus cartilage in your jaw.

Treatment typically consists of a custom made bite appliance, which repositions the lower portion of your jaw and allows muscles to relax. You will wear the appliance at night, as it relaxes the jaw muscles while you sleep, gradually relieving symptoms such as teeth-grinding, headaches and jaw soreness.

Orthodontic treatment may also be an option for treating an imbalanced bite, using bracket-and-wire braces or Invisalign. When the teeth have been repositioned into a more even alignment, symptoms usually disappear.

If you suffer from TMJ disorder and obstructive sleep apnea, contact our Rancho Bernardo, California dental office today at 858-485-6781 to learn more about these treatments.