The surprising connection between breathing and your jaw joints

Breathing problems plague millions of people, and nighttime breathing disturbances are particularly difficult to deal with. If you aren’t breathing properly, it can be hard to sleep, and, even if you do sleep, interrupted breathing may cause problems you are not even aware of. It could even cause problems with your jaws, and leading to painful headaches and other symptoms.

How are your jaws are connected to your breathing?

Your jaws are responsible for opening your mouth so that you can eat, speak – and breathe. When nighttime sleep is interrupted by nasal congestion from a cold or allergies, your jaws need to keep the air passageways open so that you can breathe through your mouth. If this situation continues or happens frequently, the connected system of your jaws and air passageways can become disordered.

Breathing problems can cause jaw pain

If you develop jaw problems related to your breathing, you may begin to experience symptoms of TMJ disorder. These symptoms may start as pain in your jaws but can extend to pain in your face and your head. You may experience:

  • headaches that you mistake for migraines
  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • back pain.

TMJ can even cause symptoms involving your hearing and vision, like ringing in the ears or floaters in your field of vision.

Ease the pressure

The key to easing jaw pain and keeping your air passageways open through the night is correct jaw positioning. Dental treatment can accomplish this in one of two ways.

  1. If your teeth are healthy and you have a good bite, you can experience better breathing at night and relief from TMJ symptoms with a dental appliance called a splint. A splint is a mouthpiece that is custom fit to you. When you wear it, your jaws are gently guided into optimum position for free breathing. A splint can be used to treat sleep apnea or to relieve jaw pressure and ease the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
  2. If your problems are caused by a bad bite, orthodontic treatment to correct your bite can offer permanent relief from symptoms.

Chicago dentist Dr Ira Shapira is equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to identify the source of your problem and help you to make a decision on treatment options. Call us now to set up a consultation appointment to discuss your breathing problems and determine if TMJ treatment could help.

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