Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD) are serious medical conditions that can severely disrupt the lives of those who suffer from them. While at first glance, a connection between OSA and TMJ may not be clear because OSA is a sleep disorder and TMJ is a joint disorder, sleep apnea and TMJ often exacerbate each other’s symptoms and are found to co-exist in many people. If you’ve been looking for an explanation for your poor sleep and other health problems, you may find the answer here.

young adult woman holding her face in pain

The TMJ/OSA Connection

When you read about a “connection” between OSA and TMJ and that they often “co-exist,” in simpler terms, it means this: If you have sleep apnea, you likely have TMJ. If you have TMJ, you likely have sleep apnea. 

To make things even more frustrating, if you snore, you likely have sleep apnea. Maybe your partner snores, and you’re at your wit’s end as to what to do about getting some good Zzzzzz’s.

While some people have one disorder and not the other, most people who visit their TMJ dentist in Miami Beach will eventually be diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Most people who visit their sleep apnea dentist in Miami Beach will find out they also have TMJ (to some degree). 

The TMJ/Sleep Apnea connection is not a love connection. It’s not a match made in Heaven, and it causes painful symptoms for millions of Americans each year.

If you’re having trouble sleeping soundly, are snoring, are waking feeling fatigued, have jaw pain, and hear clicking or popping noises while you chew, you may have both OSA and TMJ. An experienced dentist who treats both of these conditions can help, and you are certainly not alone in your struggles, as millions of Americans have OSA and TMJ.

More About the Sleep Apnea/TMJ Connection

A Miami Beach, Florida, sleep apnea dentist will usually also be a TMJ dentist because the two co-exist and present painful, disruptive symptoms that baffle many medical professionals who may not have the training to spot these disorders. 

Here, you’ll learn the many different symptoms of each of these disorders, and by comparing the two lists of signs and symptoms, you’ll see how the problems in one list will cause or exacerbate the problems in the other.

Signs and Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

In a nutshell, OSA is a sleep disorder in which the tissue in the airway becomes so relaxed that it collapses, making it difficult to breathe freely while sleeping. The airway blockage results in choking and gasping for air as the sleeping person tries to force air through a blocked air passage. While this occurs, breathing stops and may happen hundreds of times per night, up to ten seconds or more each time. 

The most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include the following:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Mood problems
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lack of concentration 
  • Memory problems

The long-term effects of OSA may include heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

Symptoms of TMJ occur from the head down into the upper and lower extremities for some people. Some of the most common TMJ signs and symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw tightness
  • Clicking/popping noises in the jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Neck pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Tingling/numbness in fingers 
  • Headache

Don’t Lose Hope; There Is Treatment Available for OSA and TMJ

After all this bad news, you’re probably ready for the good news: Obstructive Sleep Apnea and TMJ are treatable disorders. 

While OSA must be diagnosed with a sleep study before your Miami Beach sleep apnea dentist may begin treatment, your dentist can certainly use advanced dental technology, experience, education, and knowledge to diagnose Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. 

Once a name has been given to your baffling symptoms, you will likely breathe a sigh of relief because help is just around the corner. With so many TMJ treatment options available today, you may experience relief from the painful symptoms of TMJ in just one visit. With continued treatment, you will learn to enjoy life again without dealing with constant suffering.

Sleep apnea treatment will restore good quality sleep and allow you to feel better once you start getting better quality sleep regularly. Your productivity may increase, your memory problems may vanish, and your focus may become laser sharp again.

Sleep Apnea and TMJ Treatment in Miami Beach, Florida

To learn more about OSA in Miami Beach, please contact SoBe Dentist™ by calling (305) 535-2225. You may also fill out our online contact form; one of our dental team members will reach out to answer questions or schedule a new patient evaluation.