TMJ Pain and Sleep

Dr. Shapira Jaw Problems, Sleep Problems, TMJ Pain and Sleep 0 Comments

TMJ Pain and Sleep: Why do I have trouble sleeping?

tmj-pain-and-sleepDo you find trouble sleeping and at the same time have jaw pain? A lot of Americans suffer from one sleep disorder or another but the most common is something called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the airways become blocked and you find that you keep waking up as your body reacts to the lack of oxygen.

There are other reasons that can help to stop you sleeping well and these are related to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The jaw joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull are the TMJ Joints.  When they do not function smoothly you may hear clicking, popping or grinding noises in your joints or experience mild to severe pain when using your jaw.  This is the part of the face that allows you to move your jaws up, down or sideways.  When the TMJ is not working you may experience locking of your jaws or experience pain with movement.

If your ‘bite’ becomes misaligned you might experience symptoms such as face, ear, neck and jaw pain, because a ‘bad bite’ can affect your TMJ. A problem with the TMJ may then also cause snoring and sleep problems.  Your bite and your two TMJ joints act like a three-legged stool, if the legs are even the stool is stable.  If one or more of the joints or the bite is not correct you will have instability resulting in problems.  Muscle pain, neck pain and headache are some of the most common results of instability.

A jaw joint disorder could be causing your sleep problems

If you have a problem with your TMJ, then the pain could cause a TMJ related sleep disorder. The link between your TMJ and some sleep disorders like sleep apnea is crystal  clear, but just the jaw pain may still prevent you from getting a proper night’s sleep.

TMJ problems are often caused by a misaligned bite, which can put your tongue in the wrong place so that it readily blocks your airways. If you snore a lot and cannot sleep because of your TMJ, you do need to find a remedy because it could lead to more serious health issues, including heart disease and high blood pressure. A sleep disorder is more than a lack of sleep as it is a warning that further health problems are possible if treatment does not start.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH published a report on “THE CARDIOVASCULAR AND SLEEP-RELATED CONSEQUENCES OF TEMPOROMANDIBULAR DISORDERS”  I  wrote a paper for Cranio Journal titled “TMJ, The Great Imposter has a Co-coconspirator Poor Sleep”   I  was requested to write the editorial for Cranio by Riley Lunn, the editor and owner when the Journal  changed it’s name from  the Journal for Craniomandibular Practice to the Journal for Craniomandibular Practice and Sleep.

Sleep problems can cause a multitude of pain Disorders including Fibromyalgia

It does not matter if jaw pain or airway problems are causing your disturbed sleep.  Once you sleep is disturbed it creates a host of new problems with widespread muscle pain.  There is a very specific sleep finding in Fibromyalgia, Alpha Intrusion into Delta Sleep or in simple English you wake or have disturbed deep sleep.  Studies have shown that many patients have Fibromyalgia symptoms if you disturb their sleep.  The disruption in sleep also alters our endocrine system affecting insulin resistance, cortisol levels, growth hormone, adrenal function, sexual hormones and thyroid hormone.  All of these factors can increase the pain and dysfunction associated with TemporoMandibular Disorders.

Dental treatments for your jaw problems and sleep disorder

This may be the right time to consider dentistry to correct the TMJ problem and any sleeping disorders, too. We will first ensure that no other health problems are causing your TMJ problem and any other sleep disorders. The first test we might use is an ultra low-frequency electronic device which will relax the muscles in your face.  Many patients have comorbid conditions or health problems that contribute to their TMJ disorder but there are also many patients who experience a host of medical problems because of their TMJ disorder.   One study showed that patients with TMJ disorders have a 300% increase in spending in every field of medicine.

If your TMJ is the culprit, then a special orthotic appliance is put in place which prevents the bite misalignment. If teeth grinding (bruxism) seems to be the main reason for the TMJ disorder, fitting a night guard is quite likely. This is a custom-made mouthpiece that you will wear when you sleep. These treatments can lead to less pain and better breathing.  Many patient who grind their teeth have sleep apnea and the bruxism helps to stiffen and open their airways.  Sometimes, a troublesome behavior can have both  positive and negative  consequences.  It is extremely important that patients with sleep problems and/or TMJ problems always see an expert in both fields.

Dr Shapira is a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, A Diplomat of the Ameican Academy of Pain Management and a Felllow of the International College of CranioMandibular Orthopedics.

Stop the pain and get back to sleep

If you have been experiencing jaw pain and find it hard to get to sleep you may have a problem with your TMJ which could be helped by physiologic dentistry combined with Dental Sleep Medicine. We will need to make a thorough examination and eliminate other possible causes of the pain and any sleeping problems you have been experiencing. By utilizing advanced clinical and diagnostic protocols available in modern dentistry techniques, Dr. Shapira will be able to help you find a night filled with better sleep and a reduction or elimination of your daytime pain.

Sleep Disorders and Loss of Sex Drive

Dr. Shapira loss of sex drive, Sleep Apnea, Sleep Disorder, Sleep Disorder Diagnosis 0 Comments

Trouble getting in the mood?

sleep-disorders-and-loss-of-sex-driveIf you have a sleep problem you may be experiencing a loss of sex drive too. Interest in any type of physical activity can be an issue if you have a sleep disorder. It takes quite a lot of energy to motivate your sex drive!

If you do experience a loss of libido because you just don’t get enough sleep, you certainly aren’t alone. For men with sleep apnea, studies suggest that 50% of sufferers also secrete lower-than-normal levels of testosterone throughout the night.

Sleep disorders and loss of sex life

If you are suffering from a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, when your breathing gets obstructed, you may also be secreting less sex hormone.  If this happens you will naturally have a low libido and in the long term your relationship with your partner may suffer. Not getting enough sleep due to sleep apnea not only affects your relationship but can also accelerate the onset of heart disease and other serious ailments.

Snoring often accompanies sleep apnea, so the sleep patterns of your partner may be affected too. Neither lack of sleep nor snoring loudly is good for your relationship.

Boost your love life with better sleep

There are dental treatments available that can restore your love life by helping you get better sleep. The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure appliance (CPAP) is one treatment options for patients suffering from sleep apnea, and is often recommended by doctors. It functions by sending small amounts of air into the nasal passages, which prevents the collapse of the throat while the patient sleeps so that normal undisturbed breathing can take place. However, this treatment is often found to be uncomfortable and noisy by patients.

The Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) is a custom made appliance which has similarities to a mouth guard and it influences the lower jaw by holding it forward so preventing the airway from collapsing while ensuring continuous breathing. It has been found to a be a good alternative option to CPAP.

The Somnomed Appliance is another excellent choice for comfortably treating snoring and Sleep Apnea.  By using one or another of these devices you have a good chance of reclaiming your sleep and improving your love life.

Nothing kills the mood than falling asleep when your partner is feeling amorous

Treating your sleep apnea and snoring gives you more stamina and alertness.  Don’t fall asleep on your partner when they want to make love.  The anger that creates affects not just your nights but your future together.  When you’re sleeping well your body produces higher levels of sex hormones and you feel better in a multitude of ways.  Experience the life changing effects of restorative sleep.  Get you apnea treated and get your life back the way it should be.

Get your mojo back

Whatever the reason for your sleep disorder it is essential to get a proper diagnosis. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, you can receive dental treatment for it, which may involve wearing a device that helps you to breathe better.

When you are able to sleep more easily you will regain some of your lost energy and will be in the mood to reinvigorate your relationship.

Do I Have a Sleep Disorder?

Dr. Shapira Sleep Disorder 0 Comments

A sleep disorder has to be taken seriously…

sleep-disorder-chicagoIf you find yourself constantly battling fatigue, feeling as if your sleep is disrupted on a nightly basis, or if your family complains about your snoring, you could have an underlying sleep disorder. There are several, common sleep issues that plague many individuals, robbing them of a good night’s rest and leaving them sleep-deprived.

When sleep doesn’t come easily or if you never seem to fall into that deep restful state, a more serious problem could be at the heart of the matter.

Your symptoms are your clue

Sleep disorders are a major problem in the United States. In fact, over 40 million Americans suffer from a some kind of chronic disorder that disrupts their sleeping patterns. Doubly disturbing is in many cases it goes undiagnosed.

To determine if you are one of the millions, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms. The following are common symptoms for many people who struggle to get the required amount of quality sleep on a nightly basis:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for breath in the middle of the night
  • Always feeling tired, regardless of how much sleep you get
  • Waking with a morning headache
  • Bruxism and/or jaw pain
  • Having a lack of energy
  • Finding it difficult to maintain concentration
  • Short term memory loss
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Gatric reflux and related sinus issues
  • Awakening multiple times during the night

If any of these symptoms apply to you, we recommend you seek help to pinpoint the source of your problem before you find yourself dealing with more serious health concerns.

Why treat your sleep disorder?

Everyone has a sleepless night on occasion. However, when it happens on a regular basis for an extended period of time, it can wreak havoc on your health. People with untreated sleep disorders are at a greater risk of developing:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Depression
  • Stroke
  • Memory loss
  • Cancer
  • Premature aging and early onset age-related disorders
  • Associated with earlier onset of Alzheimer’s and Dementia in patients at risk

In addition to these medical conditions, the sleep deprivation that comes with a sleep disorder can impact your safety, job performance, and relationships.

Which sleep disorder is plaguing you?

There are many types of disorders that hinder a person’s ability to sleep well.

Insomnia

There are two primary types of insomnia, sleep onset insomnia and maintenance insomnia

Onset Insomnia is a very common problem faced by Americans. People with onset insomnia have difficulty falling asleep. People with maintenance insomnia wake up and can’t get back to sleep. They are very different disorders and both can occur in the same individual. As a result, they don’t get adequate sleep or have poor-quality sleep leading to a multitude of medical problems.

  • Acute insomnia (lasting a few days to a few weeks) is usually due to stress, family pressures or a traumatic event.
  • Chronic insomnia (lasting a month or longer) is usually a symptom of an underlying problem or side effect of a medication.
  • Maintenance insomnia is usual the result of another primary sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or restless legs.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is another common disorder that involves sudden onset of sleep at any time. People who suffer from narcolepsy often have vivid dreams because they fall into REM sleep quickly and wake up from it suddenly.

Researchers suspect low levels of Hypocretin (hi-po-KREET-in), a brain chemical that helps keep you wakeful is the cause of narcolepsy. So far, what causes the low levels isn’t well understood.

While, currently there is no cure for narcolepsy, symptoms can be alleviated through medication and lifestyle changes.

Restless leg syndrome (RLS)

Restless leg syndrome involves a condition that causes a strong urge to move your legs. It occurs because of unpleasant feelings in your legs that are relieved when you move them. These feelings are described by suffers as:

  • Creeping
  • Crawling
  • Pulling
  • Itching
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Aching
  • Electric

Some people also feel this in their arms because these feeling tend to happen when you’re at rest they can keep you awake.

Periodic leg movements in sleep actually causes disturbed sleep frequently leading to awakenings and is most common in patients with RLS.

Upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) may exacerbate or cause restless legs during sleep. Fibromyalgia can also occur from disturbed sleep caused by UARS as can other chronic pain disorders. There is a specific sleep marker for Fibromyalgia called Alpha Intrusion into Delta Sleep, this is awake brain waves during deep sleep and can be caused by numerous sleep disorders.

Treatment for restless leg syndrome usually involves lifestyle changes or medication. If it is caused airway obstruction it may disappear with treating of snoring or sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea , UARS, RERAs and Snoring

Sleep apnea is another serious condition that impedes sleep. Many people who suffer from this condition are not even aware that they have a problem. This disorder usually stems from an obstruction of the airway at night that causes the victim to be jerked awake after the body stops breathing.

Frequently patients think they wake multiple time to urinate and are unaware of the far more serious underlying causes.

These episodes can happen hundreds of times during the night and last up to a minute in duration. It’s a serious condition that robs the body of essential oxygen and places a major burden on the heart. Snoring can be an indicator of sleep apnea.

Snoring can cause serious problems in the absence of apnea. Patients who snore have a 300% increase in Motor Vehicle Accidents and severe snoring can lead to atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain.

Snoring, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome, RERAs respiratory-related arousals hypopnea and apnea are variations in the severity of upper airway obstructions during sleep.

Sleep apnea can be treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), surgery or sleep orthotics that help keep the airways open.

Live the Better Life that comes with Better Sleep

In many cases, disorders involving your sleep can be addressed through lifestyle changes.

Eliminating stress, increasing exercise, and losing weight may get to the source of your sleepless nights. Meditation and massage may be helpful, as well as establishing a regular, sleep pattern. Prescription medication from your doctor can also help.

In the case of sleep apnea, a sleep airway orthotic fitted by a expert Sleep Apnea Dentist or Physiologic TMJ treatment can help realign your jaw to keep your airway from closing while you sleep. The DNA Appliance and Epigenetic Orthodontics may permanently correct your sleep disorder while improving your appearance and posture.

Whatever your sleep disorder, it’s important to pinpoint the cause and get the correct treatment. Without restful sleep, your health will suffer.