It’s Monday morning, your alarm goes off, and you feel as if you haven’t gotten any sleep. You have to get up and go to work but you’re exhausted, and this isn’t the only time this month. Lately, you’ve been getting poor sleep and you’re not sure why. Lack of sleep is debilitating on the body and the mind. If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ or suspect that you may suffer from this disorder, maybe you shouldn’t be blaming your lack of sleep on an old mattress.
TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder is estimated to affect more than 10 million Americans a year. The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone on either side of the head and attaches to surrounding muscle groups in the face, neck and head. The joint functions as a hinge, like a door, allowing you to open and close your mouth for everyday tasks such as talking, and of course, eating.
Although many people might be familiar with the more obvious symptoms of TMJ such as jaw pain or the clicking sound that occurs when opening or closing your mouth, the disorder has a variety of symptoms that can negatively affect your sleep.
Teeth grinding or bruxism often goes hand-in-hand with TMJ. While there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that bruxism causes TMJ, it certainly puts added stress on the joint, which can worsen other TMJ symptoms. During sleep, those with extreme bruxism can clench their jaw with a force of up to 700 pounds per square inch. With this amount of pressure, you could significantly damage your teeth, dental fillings, or crowns. More so, those with bruxism report lower quality sleep due to pain or muscle weakness caused by tooth grinding.
Migraines or Tension Headaches
The most common TMJ-related headaches are caused by overworked muscle groups connected to the temporomandibular joint. When stretched too far or worked too hard, these muscle can become tense and sore, causing a mild to severe headache known as a tension headache.
Although the connection between migraines and TMJ are not clear, there is evidence that suggests that migraines could be caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which can be affected by the temporomandibular joint. Frequent migraines or tension headaches can have a significant effect on our sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep and even wake us in the middle of the night.
Count the Sheep with TMJ Treatment
If you wake up frequently with jaw pain or face swelling, you may suffer from TMJ, a progressive disorder that can cause serious complications such as jaw displacement over time. Poor sleep can also lower concentration, and even increase your risk of heart attack or stroke and even weight gain.
If you experience these symptoms, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with a TMJ specialist. There are several ways to treat this disorder. Botox injections can be used to help the muscles surrounding the joint to relax, which can relieve the pain and reduce the damage that overactive muscles can have on your teeth and joint.
A mouthguard is also an effective defense against TMJ. It helps hold the jaw in place, encourages muscles to relax, and protects your teeth from the damage of grinding. The mouthguard is custom-fit to your mouth, is removable, and is usually effective if worn only at night.
If you’re unsure about which treatment is right for you, You don’t have to keep suffering with the symptoms of TMJ. Please call (907) 274-7691 today for an appointment with an Anchorage TMJ dentist at Denali Dental Care.