TMJ and Sleep Apnea Treatment in Lexington

Woman in pain holding her jaw in need of TMJ treatment in 40504 Do you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or sleep apnea?

Did you know that we can treat both at our Lexington, KY dental office by using a customized oral appliance?

TMD is a serious and arduous dental condition that affects your jaw joint, causing painful symptoms like headaches, earaches, and neck and jaw pain. Many networks in our body are connected and rely on each other, so injury to one section can result in stress to separate areas. Drs. Chris Davis, Gregory Edens, Jr., and Austin Jones, along with their dedicated dental team, work hard to mitigate the pain and discomfort that TMD causes through the use of proven advanced dental techniques and materials.

Sleep apnea is an upsetting sleep disorder that disrupts your normal breathing and puts your overall health at risk. During your sleep, you may snore loudly and consistently or wake up choking and gasping throughout the night when your throat muscles relax (obstructive sleep apnea). 

There is no reason to suffer needlessly from the symptoms of either TMD or sleep apnea. You may be surprised to learn that your Lexington, KY general dentist can treat both of these disorders. During their training, dentists don't just study teeth. To accurately diagnose oral health problems, they must spend years studying the structure of the head and jaw. This experience allows them to identify and address conditions like sleep apnea and TMD. 

If you find yourself experiencing oral pain, or feel that you're always tired even after sleeping a full night, give us a call at Garden Springs Dental so we can start working on diagnosing potential dental issues. As a rule of thumb, any form of dental pain is almost always an indicator of a problem that we need to resolve quickly.

Information About TMJ and TMD

TMJ connects your lower jaw to your skull; it's the hinge that activates when sleeping, eating, and opening your mouth. TMJ also refers to all the active components involved, including your muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Anytime there are issues with the TMJ, you'll notice facial pain, headaches, earaches, and neck pain.

TMJ can sometimes be called TMD, but they refer to different aspects of your condition. TMJ refers to the jaw joint pain, and TMD refers to any dysfunction in the joint and surrounding systems.

Many patients often suffer from TMD when highly stressed or under pressure.

Understanding TMD and Sleep Apnea

TMD refers to a collection of disorders related to your temporomandibular joint (TMD). These disorders are often the result of chronic teeth grinding or a misaligned dental bite. Symptoms include jaw pain, headaches, and tension in your neck and shoulder muscles.

Sleep apnea is a result of an obstruction of the airway. The condition is characterized by shallow breathing, snoring, and a choking sensation. Since sleep apnea affects your breathing, your oxygen levels drop and put you at greater risk of risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Repeated attempts to catch your breath result in disrupted sleep, which can cause you to wake up feeling tired, leaving you feeling sleepy and less productive during your day.

Why It's Important to Treat Sleep Apnea

Many Lexington patients may seek out sleep apnea treatment due to the unpleasantness of loud snoring, but it's also linked to other health issues, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Cancer
  • Impotence
  • Hypertension
  • Depression
  • Eye issues
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Acid reflux
  • Gum disease
  • Trouble focusing at work or when driving
  • Obesity
  • Asthma

At Garden Springs Dental, our main priority is to treat any and all dental issues. There's no reason for patients to feel pain, stress, or anxiety when it comes to your dental appointment.

A healthy smile is a good barometer for the rest of your body. Your dentists in Lexington, KY are always here to answer any dental questions or concerns.

How Do I Know If I Have TMD or Sleep Apnea?

The main effect of sleep apnea is drowsiness and a lack of energy, which affects many areas of your life, from your ability to work, make decisions, driving, and overall health. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you may have a sleep disorder that can be treated:

  • Drowsiness throughout the day
  • Loud snoring
  • Depression
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Fogginess
  • Reduced memory

If you have sleep apnea, you are not alone. More than 20 percent of adults live with sleep apnea, especially over the age of fifty. Patients may not even know they have a sleep disorder unless a friend or family member complains about their snoring. Living with a sleep disorder can dramatically impact your life, and the symptoms can reduce your overall happiness. Many patients who suffer from sleep apnea are more susceptible to strokes, diabetes, asthma, and depression.

TMD occurs for many different reasons, but the symptoms can be similar. If you find that any of the following are relevant to you, please give Garden Springs Dental a call immediately.

  • Popping or clicks when opening your mouth
  • Acute pain in your jaw that spreads to your neck, temples, ears, and shoulders
  • Dental pain or headaches in the morning
  • Difficulty eating without pain
  • Pain when opening your mouth

Woman awake in bed covering her ears while husband is snoringTreating TMD Pain and Sleep Apnea

These disorders create distinctly different problems, but they are similar in that our doctors at Garden Springs Dental can often effectively treat the causes and the symptoms of either with customized devices.

We can often resolve TMD pain at our Lexington dental office using an FDA-approved bite guard called an NTI device. It is designed to prevent your upper and lower jaw from coming into contact with each other as you sleep. This appliance reduces stress on the jaw joint and provides relief from pain because the jaw joint has a chance to rest.

We can treat severe sleep apnea with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. But because these devices can be bulky and uncomfortable, many people resist using them, leaving their condition untreated. If you snore excessively or feel tired upon waking, we recommend you contact your primary physician. He or she may recommend a sleep study to determine the extent of the problem.

Depending on the results, you may be a candidate for a customized device that holds your jaw in a forward position while you sleep. This position keeps the airway clear so you can breathe more easily and eliminates symptoms like snoring or shallow breathing. However, since sleep apnea is a serious condition, it is essential for us to communicate with your regular doctor or specialist so we can decide if this type of device is the right choice for you.

Relief from Dental Pain Is a Phone Call Away

If you suffer from unusual pain or headaches related to your oral health, trying to tough it out can make it worse. 

Treating TMD pain or sleep apnea may not require complex medical procedures. The only way to know for sure is to call our Lexington, KY office to arrange for a consultation. We will work with you to find a solution that provides the relief you need.