Links Between TMJ Problems & Sleep Apnea Coming To Light

Links Between TMJ Problems & Sleep Apnea Coming To Light

When a friend learned that what she was eating was leading to skin rashes, she was puzzled by the connection. Yet, researchers are now connecting the dots between just how closely one system in the body influences the others.

A particular connection that is moving front-&-center is the connection between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and TMJ Problems (jaw joint) disorder.

But, how could oxygen intake during sleep be affected by problems associated with the jaw joints?

Results from a number of studies are showing a close relationship between the two disorders. In one study, one-third of participants with TMJ Disorder (TMD) also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. Through advanced imaging technology, researchers have become better able to hone in on how the connection exists.

In another study, 75 percent of patients who were diagnosed with sleep apnea also reported pain associated with their jaw joints. This has prompted some dentists and physicians to advise their TMD patients to be tested for sleep apnea. For many, an oral appliance that resolves TMD can have dual advantages for sleep apnea sufferers.

Why Now?

It is felt that the connection hasn’t been obvious before because the “average” patient with each ailment doesn’t share much of a similar make-up.

While age is a risk factor for both genders, sleep apnea tends to be experienced by older men, (who have a 2 to 3 times higher rate of developing the disorder).

Compare this to the average TMD (temporo-mandibular joint disorder) sufferer, who are generally women in the 25 – 50 age range.

Too, the symptoms are very different. While sleep apnea suffers typically snore and are fatigued throughout the day, TMD may cause headaches, ear ringing, or dizziness.

Along with these factors are misdiagnoses that occur. When an individual complains of headaches, many are presumed to be tension headaches. Treatment is often in the form of medications that simply mask the pain, not resolve it.

Even though headaches are a common symptom of TMJ disorder and can occur in sleep apnea sufferers, both conditions are frequently overlooked as the source.

The head is a complex structure of only 10 – 11 pounds. It houses the brain, which is the body’s command center. It also mans sight, hearing, speech, taste, and communication. For all of these functions to occur properly within this small space, proper alignment and balance is vital.

OSA occurs when there are blockages to air intake passages, which can be from a saggy soft palate or a tongue that droops back too far during sleep. It doesn’t take much to cause obstruction to an adequate flow of oxygen. Fortunately, neither does it take much to correct it, in many cases.

In our office, we create small, custom-made oral appliances (mouth pieces) that adjust the position of the lower jaw ever-so-slightly. This small re-positioning can make a significant difference in one’s ability to have adequate oxygen flow throughout the night.

However, for many who suffer with the obstacles associated with sleep apnea, the position of the jaw can also relate to TMJ disorder.

When I see patients who have suffered for years, even decades, with frequent headaches, migraines, dizziness, or ear ringing, my advanced training and experience knows just how slight the disparity can be that causes the problem to occur.

For example, a crown that is one millimeter too high (that’s only 1/25th of an inch) can trigger an alignment disparity that radiates out to the jaw joints. Yet, it’s just enough to set a series of events in motion that can cause severe problems that are seemingly unrelated to bite misalignment.

TMJ Disorder can be caused by an accident or injury that alters the fit of the jaw. This can occur from contact sports, a wreck, or an injury – even those occurring many years prior. (It may take many years for the problems to emerge). However, most problems of the jaw joints stem from bite misalignment.

When a bite is misaligned, it can lead to stress and strain on the facial/head muscles and jaw joints. This is especially illustrated through worn teeth, an issue experienced by people who grind their teeth at night.

During sleep, inflamed jaw joints seek out a comfortable position. This can trigger the action of clenching (which has been measured to be forceful enough to crack a walnut) and teeth grinding. Clenching and/or grinding can cause chipped, broken, fractured, or worn teeth.

If you’ve had a crown or veneer come off during something as simple as flossing, it can be because the tooth has been enduring the forces of clenching or grinding. Fractured teeth are also telltale signs.

In addition to the TMD symptoms mentioned above, it can also cause tingling in the fingers. Again, the human body is inter-connected in an intricate way and the repercussions can be far-reaching.

For those who suffer with mild to moderate sleep apnea or TMD (or both!), the problems can be debilitating – and costly. According to the Migraine Research Foundation:

• Healthcare and lost productivity costs associated with migraine are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the U.S.
• In 2015, the medical cost of treating chronic migraine was more than $5.4 billion, however, these sufferers spent over $41 billion on treating their entire range of conditions.
• Healthcare costs are 70% higher for a family with a migraine sufferer than a non-migraine affected family.

(http://migraineresearchfoundation.org/about-migraine/migraine-facts/)

For sleep apnea sufferers who drive, AAA Foundation has labeled “drowsy driving” as more dangerous than drunk driving. Falling asleep at the wheel is not uncommon for people who have sleep apnea.

By treating one problem, you may very well resolve the other. And, in many cases, our patients find that treatment is far less involved than they anticipated. Too, treatment can occur without drugs that “zombie”you out, as one patient put it.

Don’t Hesitate

If you are ready to leave your chronic headaches, migraines, and jaw strain behind, schedule a consultation with the Indianapolis Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center in Indianapolis to see if you qualify for our TMJ pain relief program. Give us a call at: 317.790.2555

About Your Indianapolis, IN Oral Surgeon

We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falender contact our Indianapolis, IN, dental office today by calling (317) 790-2555. Our office at 1320 N. Post Rd Indianapolis, IN 46219 patients in and around Indianapolis, IN, including Fishers, Lawrence, Greenfield, and the surrounding Southern Indianapolis communities.

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4 Common Reasons Why Tooth Extraction Is Necessary – Indianapolis

Common Reasons Why Tooth Extraction Is Necessary – Indianapolis

Most patients may picture a dentist as someone who performs extraction painfully. In truth, dental professionals also want to preserve the teeth as much as patients do. Despite the advancements in dental care and procedures, there are still some instances where tooth extraction is necessary. Whatever it may be, rest assured that we at Indianapolis Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center are committed to performing the procedure effectively while minding our patients’ safety and comfort. Those who are quite anxious about undergoing the process, discuss your sedation preferences with us! We can offer either oral conscious and inhalation sedation for a more favorable experience.

Tooth extraction, as a last resort, can be considered as a dental solution. To know the reasons why removal is necessary, read below:

#1 Impaction

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt. If patients experience pain during its eruption, and x-rays show that the teeth are crooked, extraction should be performed. It is best to prevent the surrounding teeth from damage when the wisdom tooth pushes through the gums.

#2 Irreversible Damage Due to Decay

Excessive damage to the tooth surface can also lead to the infection of the pulp. Root canal therapy may be the ideal solution to this problem. If it is too late to save a tooth through this process, extraction is necessary. It is done to prevent the infection from spreading to the other structures which may result to other complications.

#3 A Practical Solution for Gum Disease

Gum disease is an oral condition that can affect the ligaments, bone, and other structures that surround the teeth. If the patient would not undergo a periodontal therapy, the condition may worsen. The advanced stage of the said disease can cause the teeth to loosen from its sockets, eventually requiring extraction.

#4 Orthodontic Requirement

If a patient experience overcrowding, an orthodontist may require a tooth extraction. It is usually done if there is not enough room in the jaw for all the teeth. In some cases, not extracting the tooth may jeopardize the result of the treatment.

Having the tooth extracted is not always the option provided by the dentist, but if there is no other choice, it will be performed to keep the overall health in tip-top condition.

For more inquiries about Extractions in Indianapolis, IN, call us at Indianapolis Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center. You can also visit us at 1320 N. Post Rd Indianapolis, IN 46219.

About Your Indianapolis, IN Oral Surgeon

We look forward to providing families with exceptional care and advanced treatment options. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Falender contact our Indianapolis, IN, dental office today by calling (317) 790-2555. Our office at 1320 N. Post Rd Indianapolis, IN 46219 patients in and around Indianapolis, IN, including Fishers, Lawrence, Greenfield, and the surrounding Southern Indianapolis communities.

Like this article? Be sure to share this with your family and friends through Facebook and Twitter!

Read More