Symptoms/Diagnosis 2022-07-13T13:15:25-06:00

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ simply refers to the temporomandibular joint – the joint we have on the right and left side of our skull just in front of our ear. TMJ is not a diagnostic term. More accurately, we use the term temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) that consist of a group of problems that affect the jaw muscles, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and/or related structures (e.g. tendons).

Symptoms of TMJ/TMD

A person with temporomandibular joint disorders may have:

  • Jaw joint pain
  • Joint sounds
  • Limitation in jaw movement
  • Muscle tenderness and joint tenderness

Other symptoms affecting the head and neck region such as:

  • Headache
  • Ear related symptoms
  • Neck disorders are also sometimes associated with TMD

What is Sleep Apnea?

The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It occurs when the airway closes while sleeping. Breathing through a narrow airway or windpipe produces vibrations that cause the loud sound of snoring. Snoring happens at night when the muscles relax and have difficulty keeping the airway open. A shift in jaw position changes the shape of the airway. The soft tissue in the throat can collapse and the tongue can fall back into the throat. The result is a small opening to breathe through (narrow airway).

OSA occurs when the airway completely collapses and blocks airflow into the lungs. The more difficult it is to breathe, the tighter the airway seals. The breathing stops because the airway is closed. Without enough oxygen, the brain has to wake up the patient enough to start breathing again. The patient may or may not be aware that they have stopped breathing. A sleep partner will often hear the patient gasp or choke when they are able to breath again. People with mild sleep apnea may stop breathing only a few times an hour. People with severe OSA can stop breathing as many as 30 times an hour or more.

Symptoms and Conditions Linked to Sleep Apnea

A person with temporomandibular joint disorders may have:

  • Chronic Sleepiness
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Heartburn
  • Morning Headaches
  • Depression

Dr. Norman Thie and his team provide services for the diagnosis and treatment for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

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