What Are TMJ Disorders?
As the most widely used joints in the body, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are responsible for lower jaw movement. These joints are positioned on either side of the face, and control your ability to eat, speak, yawn and laugh. TMJ Disorders (TMD) occur when the tissues in or around your TMJ become inflamed, overworked, fatigued or damaged. Though the exact cause of TMD is unknown, factors like teeth grinding, stress, an imbalanced bite and sleep apnea contribute to its onset. TMD symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and can interfere with your comfort, quality of life and well-being.
Symptoms of TMJ
Treating TMD and its symptoms is extremely important to your health. If you or a family member have any symptom of TMD, Dr. Melody Stampe can help! Dr. Stampe is uniquely skilled at managing TMJ-related jaw pain. She completed advanced training through a mini-residency with the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, and is the expert many local dentists and patients turn to for relieving TMJ symptoms. Dr. Stampe is also extremely knowledgeable in how TMD correlates with other conditions in the body, including sleep apnea.
Common TMJ symptoms:
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Earaches or ringing in ears
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Lock jaw (open or closed position)
- Jaw popping, clicking or grinding
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Limited range of movement
- Upper back, neck or shoulder pain
How TMD and Sleep Apnea Are Related
Recent discoveries indicate a relationship between TMD and sleep apnea. TMD often causes changes to jaw positioning, allowing the lower jaw to drift further back towards the throat during sleep. Soft tissues fall into the airway, leading to sleep apnea. Conversely, patients who have sleep apnea tend to grind at night, leading to an overworked, tired jaw – and often TMD. Dr. Stampe is a leading provider of both TMJ and sleep apnea care, and can help you protect your oral and general health with effective treatment solutions.