TMD and Sleep Apnoea
We take great care and pride in keeping up to date with the latest technology and improvements in dental care. This means that we can extend a range of dental related services to our clients that we have years of experience in. Two of these areas are TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) and Sleep Apnoea (apnea), two disorders that are increasingly affecting Australians. While they can occur separately, research increasingly suggests a link between problems with the jaw, which can lead to night teeth grinding, and sleep apnoea.
TMD (TMJ disorder)
The temporomandibular joint is where the jaw joins the skull, and allows all jaw movement. Problems with the TMJ can cause a wide range of painful symptoms, including:
- face, jaw, cheek, ear or head pain
- pain on yawning, opening the jaw, or chewing
- noise or ‘clicking’ with jaw movement
- bite problems, such as the feeling that the upper and lower teeth are not ‘biting’ properly.
TMD has many suspected causes, and some, such as bad malocclusion, teeth grinding or other dental problems, can be treated by your dentist. In fact, a thorough dental examination is usually the first step to investigating the causes of TMD, and relieving your pain.
Sleep apnoea is when breathing stops during sleep, either due to an obstruction in the airway (obstructive sleep apnoea), or a problem with the signal from the brain (central sleep apnoea). Snoring is often caused by obstructive sleep apnoea, as your body attempts to force air through a partially blocked airway. Chronic snoring is often joked about, but even apart from the social (and marital!) problems it can cause, it can indicate a more serious problem. Interrupted sleep leaves you feeling tired and worn out, and can disrupt many of the body’s vital functions.
Mild to moderate sleep apnoea and snoring have been successfully treated with dental appliances that are non-invasive and inexpensive. If you are having problems with sleep apnoea, consult your FirstBite dentist to see if they might help you.