Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly known as TMJ, occurs when the joint that connects your lower jaw to the temporal bone is overworked or damaged. TMJ is characterized by pain or discomfort in the face, jaw, and ears.
What is snoring?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a person’s suffering from chronic snoring. However, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common cause of this health concern. This is a condition in which your airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing you to snore loudly and gasp for air. If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible so that you can stop waking up feeling fatigued in the mornings.
Snoring can also be caused by your tongue falling backward in your mouth while you sleep. Other possible causes of snoring include being overweight, having a narrow throat, or having misaligned teeth. If your teeth are perfectly aligned and you’re a healthy weight, you may be able to manage the problem with lifestyle changes. Losing weight, sleeping on your side instead of your back, and keeping your head elevated are all small changes you can make that can help cut down on your snoring.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint, or “TMJ,” is a hinge that connects the jaw to the skull and allows the mouth to open and close smoothly. It’s one of the most complex joints in the body and is often the source of pain and discomfort in patients. Temporomandibular disorder, also known as TMD, refers to any dysfunction of the joint and surrounding muscles.
There are a number of symptoms that may indicate a problem with the temporomandibular joint outside of obvious jaw pain, such as headaches or earaches. The symptoms of TMD often overlap with those of bruxism, so it’s important to visit a dentist for a proper diagnosis. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Chronic facial or jaw pain
- Difficulty chewing or biting on one side of your mouth
- Jaw locking and popping
- Clicking in the jaw when you open and close your mouth
- Facial swelling, particularly around your ears or cheeks
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Sleep problems, like snoring or sleep apnea
- Teeth grinding or clenching at night
- Reduced range of motion in one or both jaws
If you experience frequent snoring or daytime sleepiness, you may have sleep apnea. This serious condition involves interrupted breathing during sleep due to obstructed airways. Treatment for sleep apnea involves a mouthguard-like appliance worn while you sleep that repositions your lower jaw to prevent airway obstruction. Other treatment options include the use of a CPAP machine, which uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open.
To find out more about the dental services offered at our dental practice, call (502) 893-5454 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 4213 N Church Way, Louisville, KY, 40207, US.