A TMJ Treatment in Traverse City Helps If Your Spouse Grinds Teeth During Sleep

Posted on: January 17, 2017

TMJ TreatmentIf you ever notice that your spouse grinds their teeth or sleeps restlessly at night, a TMJ treatment in Traverse City may help. TMJ disorders can cause discomfort, anxiety, tension, and a lack of sleep. We can alleviate these symptoms and give you and your spouse a restful night’s sleep again. Continue reading to learn more about TMJ disorders and how we can help.

TMJ Disorders

TMJ stands for "temporomandibular joint," the sliding hinge joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. If you have TMJ disorders, you may notice discomfort in your jaw joint and in the muscles that surround it and control your jaw movement. There are many causes of TMJ disorders. Your discomfort could be caused by arthritis, jaw injury, or clenching or grinding teeth at night. Sleep apnea could even be associated with TMJ disorders.

TMJ Disorders Symptoms

A clicking jaw. Sore teeth. Restless nights. Headaches. Chipped and broken teeth. Poor sleep. Muscle tension.

These are just a few signs and symptoms that you may be suffering from Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD, and TMJ treatment in Traverse City may help.

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a highly specialized joint that allows you to perform everyday functions we often take for granted, such as eating, speaking, and swallowing. There are many other components, like muscles, ligaments, and your teeth, that must work in harmony with the joint; if something isn’t working right, the whole system suffers. This dysfunction is known as temporomandibular disorder.

TMD and Sleep Apnea

Some individuals who clench and grind at night may be doing so because of a larger underlying problem, namely sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway is not large enough to accept an adequate flow of oxygen to the lungs. This could initially be caused by the jaw muscles relaxing at night, allowing the jaw to relax backwards, impinging on the airway space. To compensate, the body tightens the jaw muscles to grind the jaw forward again, re-opening the airway, allowing for more oxygen to reach the lungs. If you feel like you never get a full night’s sleep, and are constantly tired during the day, it is extremely important to rule out sleep apnea before seeking TMJ treatment, as sleep apnea can be life-threatening.

TMJ Treatment in Traverse City

Just like any disorder, a proper diagnosis is required first. Most commonly, TMD can be treated and symptoms relieved with an occlusal splint. The splint is a retainer-like appliance that fits over your upper teeth and is specially designed to relax muscles, protect teeth, and prevent over-stressing the temporomandibular joint. Patients who wear this appliance at night commonly report relief in headaches, tension, tooth sensitivity, and muscle fatigue. Although the occlusal splint works in most cases, there are some TMD’s that will not respond to splint therapy. This is why a proper diagnosis is so important!

If you suffer from TMD symptoms, call our dental office in Traverse City to see if TMJ therapy is right for you. Dr. Pfefferle will conduct a thorough examination and give appropriate recommendations for TMJ treatment.