Snoring, Sleep Apnea and TMJ Disorders
Many patients who suffer from Sleep Apnea and who snore loudly may also encounter problems with their jaw joints or TMJ’s. It is estimated that upwards of 40 million people living in the USA have some form of a TMJ Disorder. Symptoms may include pain, limited jaw opening, muscle spasms and clicking or popping noises that can occur when they open or close their mouths.
Patients who suffer from sleep related breathing disorders may experience episodes during sleep where breathing ceases for short periods of time depriving the patient of oxygen. These are commonly referred to as episodes of apnea or hypopnea. In patients who have misaligned jaws these issues may be further exacerbated by base of the tongue blocking the airway during sleep. This may also lead to nighttime jaw clenching or “bruxism” especially in those patients who take certain types of anti-depressant medications. In addition, some patients may experience painful headaches as a result of poor oxygen levels during periods of apnea.
There are many treatment options for those patients who suffer from snoring, sleep apnea and TMJ disorders. A consultation with a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon is essential to formulate a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
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