Sleep Apnea in Brentwood California area

Can Sleep Apnea Cause TMJ? Learn More About What You Can Do for TMJ Pain Relief

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According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 20 million Americans live with the condition known as sleep apnea, and this includes people who live in Brentwood, California. We'll go over what sleep apnea is, but it's also important to understand that there's a link between it and temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ disorder. 

How Do I Know if I have Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes affected individuals to stop breathing when they're sleeping. When someone has sleep apnea, they wake up several times a night gasping for air. In extreme cases, someone with sleep apnea may wake up as many as 100-300 times every night. 

This condition can be terrifying and has a huge impact on a person's quality of life. These are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Gasping for breath while asleep
  • Loud snoring
  • Dry mouth upon waking
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Anxiety
  • Daytime fatigue and tiredness
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Reduced memory and concentration
  • Night sweats
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What is TMJ Disorder? 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. This joint is in front of the ears on both sides of the head. The TMJ is responsible for opening and closing the jaw to chew food, yawn, and speak. When someone has a TMJ disorder, they may find it difficult to chew food efficiently or speak.

TMJ disorder causes limited joint mobility, jaw pain, and severe headaches. These symptoms suggest that a person may have TMJ disorder:

  • Jaw popping
  • Clicking jaw
  • Grating sensations when closing or opening the mouth
  • Jaw locked in the open or closed position
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Recurring headaches
  • Chewing discomfort

Can Sleep Apnea Cause TMJ?

Sleep apnea and TMJ disorder are two different conditions, but there's a link between the two. Research from the National Institutes of Health has found that up to 43% of people with TMJ disorder also have problems with sleep. 

When a person's airway collapses while sleeping, the body's automatic response is to protrude the lower jaw forward. Because there's a continuous back-and-forth motion of the jaw, there is constant stress on the joints in the jaw.

Additionally, TMJ disorder is known to become worse when a person is chronically fatigued. Because sleep apnea causes chronic fatigue and affects a person's quality of sleep, jaw pain and inflammation can increase. 

How to Find Pain Relief from TMJ Disorder

First, your dentist will work to identify the cause of your TMJ disorder. Dr. Alkhoury uses jaw vibration analysis and CBCT scans to diagnose the disorder. Then, a custom-made oral appliance is made to wear when sleeping. Other treatment options include cold laser therapy or a compound therapeutic ointment for neck, joint, shoulder, lower back, and shoulder pain.

TMJ and Sleep Apnea Relief in Brentwood, California

Are you concerned about TMJ disorder and sleep apnea? Dr. Jamil Alkhoury and the team at Brentwood Family Dental in Brentwood, California, are here to help. Request an appointment online or call us at 925-344-5296. 

Dr. Jamil Alkhoury

Dr. Jamil Alkhoury

Dr Jamil Alkhoury believes dentists to be artists. Taking care of another person’s teeth is definitely an art in which Dr Jamil Alkhoury is an expert. Having graduated from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) with a degree in Advanced Education in General Dentistry, he has always focused on the well-being of his patients. Brentwood family dental headed by Dr Jamil Alkhoury offers a wide range of services. He always keeps in touch with the developments in the field, to serve his purpose to the best of his abilities.

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Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

Dentist Brentwood California Dental Association Link American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) American Academy of Pain Management Dentist Brentwood American Dental Association (ADA) Link American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) American Academy of Cranio Dental Sleep Medicine ( ABCDSM) The American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine – (AOAPRM)