What Is TMJ?

TMJ is a common shorthand for tempormandibular joint disorders, also called temporomandibular disorders. Among dentists and researchers, we also use the abbreviation TMD.

There are many different forms of this condition, but the three most widely recognized forms are:

  • Muscle disorders
  • Jaw displacement
  • Joint degradation

You can experience all three at the same time, but most people have symptoms related to the muscle disorder. This can lead to common symptoms in the jaw, the head and beyond.

Common TMJ symptoms include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Irregular jaw motion
  • Locked jaw
  • Chipped, worn, or broken teeth
  • Headache
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Ear fullness
  • Neck pain

There are many more symptoms people can experience, and almost no two people experience the same set of symptoms.

Fortunately, thanks to modern treatments, we can resolve these symptoms without drugs and without surgery.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

In sleep apnea, your breathing stops for a significant period during sleep. In order to resume breathing, your brain has to wake up slightly. Although this might be happening hundreds of times a night, you might not be aware of it because it’s happening while you sleep. In fact, studies estimate that 80-90% of sleep apnea sufferers don’t know they have the condition. However, your partner might notice: snoring is very common among people with sleep apnea.

All you notice are the daytime effects of the condition:

  • Waking unrested, no matter how long you sleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Falling asleep at work, driving, or in front of the TV
  • Lack of energy or interest
  • Depression, irritability, or other mood problems

Of course, these are only the most visible effects of sleep apnea. Because you aren’t getting enough sleep, the functions your body does during sleep are disrupted. This means your body can’t remove waste from the brain, which increases your risk of dementia. It also means your body can’t regulate your hormones properly, leading to excessive eating and weight gain. The repeated air shortages put a strain on your heart, increasing your risk of heart failure and stroke. In fact, sleep apnea may increase your cause of death from any cause by as much as six times.

While the common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP, many people can’t adapt to it. Instead, Rochester Hills sleep dentist Dr. Wolfe uses oral appliance therapy to resolve sleep apnea and snoring.

Treatment for TMJ and Sleep Apnea in Rochester Hills

If you are suffering from TMJ and/or sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment early to head off future risks. For a diagnosis and treatment options, please call (248) 651-0897 today for an appointment at Signature Dentistry of Rochester in the heart of Rochester Hills.