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Sleep Apnoea & TMJ

Sleep Apnoea is calculated to affect 1 in 5 Australian adults. TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are quite common and cause a variety of symptoms.

Sleep Apnoea:

Sleep Apnoea is calculated to affect 1 in 5 Australian adults. Most people think only of snoring, but obstructive sleep apnoea is more serious and can lead to heart disease, strokes or heart attacks. It can cause interruptions to breathing many times during sleep, with episodes lasting from 10 seconds to 2 minutes. Mostly the person wakes up ending the episode, but rarely remembers doing so. Unfortunately, sleep is not then refreshing…

Symptoms include: tiredness on waking; excessive daytime sleepiness; choking or gasping during sleep; sore dry throat on waking; morning headaches; poor concentration; memory deterioration; decreased sex drive; irritability; anxiety or depression and decrease in job performance.

The first step is of course a careful diagnosis and treatment plan which we organise - and if required, a special dental appliance that prevents the airways from collapsing during sleep.

Diagnosis of the cause of sleep apnoea is crucial so that the most effective treatment can be proposed. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea may be treated simply by using oral appliances. In lesser cases, it may be a combination of appliance plus changes to sleeping posture, exercise, diet, and alcohol consumption before bed time. In more severe cases, it may require surgery.

TMJ disorders:

TMJ (temporomandibular joint)  disorders are quite common and cause symptoms including: limited jaw movement; “locked jaw”; clicking, grating or popping noises from the jaw joint; pain when chewing, yawning or opening the jaw wide; pain in or around the ears and cheeks; headaches and sometimes nausea; earaches and ringing in the ears; face, neck and shoulder pain and muscle spasms; toothache, clenching and grinding; and an uncomfortable bite or “occlusion”.

Effective treatment should conservatively seek to lessen or relieve pain; restore the jaw function; minimise noises from the jaw joint; enable you to regain normal daily activities.

Treatment methodology includes some or all of: Occlusal appliance therapy (bite plates that take the pressure off jaw joints) custom designed by your dentist, adjusted and monitored to relieve night time pain; modified diet; physiotherapy; warm or cold packs; relaxation and stress management; and in extreme cases, we may refer you to a specialist for treatment including medication or Surgery.