TMJ and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: How Are They Related?

TMJ and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: How Are They Related?

TMJ and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: How Are They Related?

Getting the recommended number of hours of sleep and getting sufficient quality sleep are both critical for staying in good health. However, if you have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ), getting refreshing and comfortable sleep can be difficult. When obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is added to the mix, a complicated issue can emerge. Having both OSA and TMJ can result in physical barriers to restful sleep.

While the two are not identical, continue reading to learn about the link between TMJ and sleep apnea.

Cause and Effect

A clear link has been established between OSA and TMJ disorders.

Does OSA cause TMJ disorder? Yes, sleep apnea can exacerbate TMJ disorders by exacerbating the symptoms. When the brain detects a decrease in oxygen levels, it communicates with various systems throughout the body. It will, for example, tell the heart that it must increase its heart rate in order to deliver more oxygen.

Consequently, the brain will tell the jaw muscles to tighten up in an attempt to open the airway. While the clenching motion is intended to aid in the stabilization of the airway, repeated clenching can lead to TMJ. It has the potential to cause night-time bruxism, which is characterized by tooth grinding and clenching. This strains the TMJ and the articular disc, as well as the surrounding muscles and tissues. This strain and overuse can result in painful and inflammatory disorders.

Is TMJ the cause of sleep apnea? TMJ can cause the airway to collapse in the same way that OSA does. To open the airway, the body tries to fix this by pressing the lower jaw forward. This will cause problems such as jaw clicking while asleep. The TMJ’s constant movement causes tension and stress.

In some cases, TMJ and OSA disorders may be caused by the same underlying cause. Malocclusion, for example, may contribute to the development of OSA by closing the airway while sleeping. Malocclusion also prevents the jaw muscles from resting properly, putting strain on the TMJ.

Screening and Treatment Implications

With a strong link between OSA and TMJ disorders, it is critical that this relationship be taken into account when developing a method to identify and treat both conditions effectively. The best practices should include checking for both of these symptoms when a patient displays one or both of them. TMJ disorder screening should be done on a regular basis if one is initially present but not the other after examination and diagnosis, for example, obstructive sleep apnea without TMJ disorders.

Final Word

Despite being distinct disorders, sleep apnea and TMJ can affect each other and interfere with restful sleep. Treating the two together will put you on the road to a better night’s sleep and a more productive day if you’re experiencing both in tandem.

Call Time To Smile at (310) 475-5598 today to make an appointment with Dr. Sid Solomon to discuss your apnea and TMJ symptoms and decide the best course of action. Dr. Sid is an excellent TMJ expert who has helped put a smile on several people who had lost hope. All of our TMJ treatments and surgeries have received approval from the American Dental Association. In neuromuscular dentistry and gnathological neuromuscular dentistry, the patient’s ideal bite is determined using computer mandibular scanning (CMS), surface electromyography (SEMG), and sonography through a K7 device.