TMD and Sleep Apnea—It’s All About Attitude

Dec 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Sleep Apnea, TMJ Treatment

sleep apnea fresnoTMJ disorder and obstructive sleep apnea have a lot in common. Both generate ambiguous symptoms that are shared by many other illnesses, and they both can negatively affect your overall quality of life. Although they affect different areas of your oral and physical health, research now suggests that the sleep deprivation OSA patients suffer and the facial discomfort caused by TMJ disorder share another thing in common—the power of your mind. Fresno dentists Dr. Alex Denes and Dr. Claudia Denes discuss the study that makes experts believe a change in attitude can help you sleep better and ease your discomfort.

A Brief Overview of…

TMJ Disorder

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the large joints that connect your mandible (lower jaw) to your skull. Located in front of each ear, these joints allow your jaw to move in virtually any direction. For various reasons (i.e., bruxism, stress, a misaligned bite, etc.), your TMJs can be subject to excessive pressure and tension, which can damage the joints and the muscles that surround them. The damage can lead to severe facial discomfort, known as TMJ disorder.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When you sleep, every muscle and tissue relaxes. When the tissues in your mouth and throat relax too much, they can obstruct your airway. In fact, snoring is the sound of these tissue vibrating as air tries to squeeze past the small space between them. Sometimes, however, these tissues can collapse enough to block the airway and stop your breathing. After a few moments, typically lasting at least ten seconds, your mind forces your body awake to restart the breathing process. These apnic episodes happen hundreds of times a night, preventing you from falling into the deep sleep necessary for your mind and body to rejuvenate. Unless a sleeping partner or family member tells them of their problem, sleep apnea patients may not be aware of it until sleep deprivation begins to take its toll.

Don’t Think About It

During a study, researchers recruited 214 people with chronic TMJ pain and discomfort. After TMJ disorder was confirmed, the participants filled out a questionnaire regarding their quality of sleep, emotional state, and response to pain. The researchers discovered a significant relationship between discomfort, poor sleep, and negative thinking about pain. The subjects that tended to dwell on their discomfort, or exaggerate when discussing it, also tended to sleep less and less peacefully. Furthermore, the results suggested that lack of sleep, whether form stress, pain, or sleep apnea, equated to more severe discomfort in the TMD patients.

TMJ and OSA Treatment in Fresno

Another similarity between TMD and OSA is that both can be treated at your Fresno dentists office. To treat TMJ disorder, or to learn how you can sleep better in spite of sleep apnea, contact your Fresno dentists by calling Fresno Dental Studio at (559) 297-1800. Located in the 93720 area, we proudly serve patients from Fresno, Clovis, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

Tags: , ,

2 Comments to “TMD and Sleep Apnea—It’s All About Attitude”

  1. […] some cases, your partner may not be the only one losing sleep over your snoring. Sleep apnea, which is characterized by extremely loud, almost dramatic, snoring, can deprive you of rest […]

  2. […] Straight teeth work better—The human bite can exert up to 200 lbs on its back molars. Although your teeth are the strongest part of your body, they can still fall victim to damage if this pressure is not distributed properly. Crooked teeth throw off your bite’s balance, causing some teeth to absorb more pressure than others and leading to a host of subsequent dental problems, including excessively worn and vulnerable teeth. Also, your jaw may have to work harder to keep your teeth straight when biting, chewing and speaking, which can over-stress your jaw joints and lead to the debilitating discomfort of TMJ disorder. […]

Leave a Comment