Understanding TMJ and TMD
Does your jaw joint make popping or clicking sounds? Does the joint area become painful or the areas near the joint hurt? If so, you may have referred to it as “TMJ”. TMJ is the joint and TMD is the condition. The damage can continue causing more severe issues and even locking the jaw, making it impossible to chew or talk. The earlier this issue is detected, the easier it is to correct.
At TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Central Florida we understand the complexities of craniofacial pain that are unique to each patient. Many patients experience TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) pain and often dysfunctions (TMD), many experience primary headaches (known as migraines, tension and cluster). While others may have facial neuralgias, musculoskeletal pain. Sometimes a combination of all. TMJ pain is one of the conditions most often identified by patients. This is a condition caused by disturbances in the action of the jaw.
Research has shown that many factors may lead to this disorder – occurs by itself or be a part of a more complex problem. We believe that there is usually more than one factor responsible. Causes may include macro traumas: automobile accident, sports injury, accidental falls etc. or micro traumas: clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism). Which this causes the muscles that stabilize the joint to become fatigued from overwork resulting in head, face, jaw and muscle pain. Often the jaw problems, head and facial pain, headaches, migraines and musculoskeletal pain are symptoms of a greater problem affecting the body, much like a fever is secondary to the common flu.
In the absence of an acute injury to the head or facial area, we believe the primary cause of these problems is frequently related to insufficient oxygen while sleeping i.e. an unidentified sleep breathing disorder, sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Everyone assumes they are breathing and getting enough oxygen during sleep; few recognize that nighttime teeth grinding and clenching (bruxing) is an unconscious effort to prevent suffocation. This repeated action all night long, over extended periods of time, wears down the skeletal structure and the joints resulting in TMJ pain, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, TMJ dysfunctions and facial neuralgias.
Growth hormone is naturally produced while you are in the deeper phase of sleep called N3. Without proper sleep many people are deficient in growth hormone production. Good sleep allows for rehabilitation of your mind and body so if you want an edge in life be sure to evaluate your sleep. Prior injuries that haven’t healed properly can give a constant signal to the brain that is an alarm. This alarm signal prevents the body from performing at peak levels due to the protective mechanism of the central nervous system. Orthopedic and neural evaluations are utilized to evaluate unhealed injuries. Once detected the proper health care providers are sought for treatment.
How Mouth Breathing Causes TMJ
Our bodies are physiologically designed for nose breathing. When we’re breathing through our nose, all the developmental forces are balanced. Unfortunately, many of us breathed through our mouth when sleeping as children and teens, which unbalanced the forces of development, leading to tooth and jaw deformations that contribute to TMJ/TMD.