A good night’s sleep is an important part of a healthy, productive life, yet so many of us do not get one. There are dozens of reasons why people suffer from poor sleep, and often, the causes can be frustratingly difficult to determine. If you regularly wake up with a headache, feeling dizzy or simply wondering if you even slept at all, or if you have heard complaints about your snoring, a TMJ disorder could be at the root of your sleep problem. Sana Dental can help!
Your Alberta Choice for TMJ Treatment!
What is the Relationship between TMJ and Sleep Disorders?
TMJ problems and sleep disorders have a relationship. One can cause the other, and vice versa. This is because when your jaw is misaligned, it can lead to a blocked airway, especially when you sleep. The exact opposite is also true. If you have breathing difficulties such as a constricted or an obstructed airway, it can impact how you breath, and in children, can affect the way the jaw forms, leading to bite issues in adulthood.
The Connection Between Your Tongue And TMJ
Your tongue is one of the strongest and most flexible muscles in your body. It does way more than just taste. You also use it to chew, talk, swallow, sing, and kiss. A lesser known role of your tongue is as your jaw’s cushion, kind of like its pillow. In a normal mouth, the tongue lies just behind the upper teeth to support your jaw and your upper dental arch.
If you have a misaligned bite due to TMJ, it can affect how your tongue is positioned in your mouth. If you have a narrow mouth or an overbite, your tongue can be forced too far back in your mouth, stopping it from doing its job properly, and getting in the way of your breathing.
Childhood Breathing Issues Can Result In TMJ
When a child cannot properly breathe through their nose, usually because of allergies, they are forced to breathe through their mouth. Mouth breathing causes a child’s tongue to drop away from the roof of the mouth to allow air to pass into the lungs. With the tongue in this position, it no longer supports the child’s dental arch. As the child grows, this dental arch support is critical. Without it, the jaw may not develop as it should, leading to a constricted dental arch and TJM issues later in life.
TMJ Treatment Options Can Help You Get Back To Sleep!
By taking a neuromuscular approach, one that considers the big picture of how your teeth, tongue and jaws work together, dentistry can help overcome TMJ related breathing issues. This can be achieved in a number of ways:
- Orthodontics: Orthodontics can help reposition your teeth and widen your dental arch
- Veneers or Implants: If missing or damaged teeth are causing your bite to be misaligned, dental restorations such as veneers or implants can help rebalance it
- Orthotics: Sometimes all it takes is a simple orthotic worn at night to resolve nighttime breathing problems