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Dr. Daniel A. DelCastillo, DMD PA
Dr. Michael Maya, DMD
925 Arthur Godfrey Rd, #302 Miami Beach, FL 33140

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Can TMJ Affect Your Breathing?

If you live with TMJ disorder, you’re not alone. As many as one out of every 12 Americans has some form of TMJ. In fact, many cases of TMJ go undiagnosed due to the range of factors that can cause the condition. And while jaw misalignment is a primary cause, breathing also plays an important role in causing many TMJ symptoms. 


If you experience breathing problems that diminish your quality of life, an undiagnosed TMJ disorder may be the cause. In this post, a Midtown Miami, FL dentist discusses TMJ and how this particular dental problem can interfere with your breathing and overall health.


What is TMJ?


TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joints, which are the structures that connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints make activities like chewing and speaking possible. 


The components that make up your TMJ include:


  • The mandible or lower jaw bone
  • Cranial bones, also known as temporal bones
  • Muscles and tendons that connect the temporal bone to the mandible
  • The temporomandibular disc, which sits between the temporal bone and the top of the mandible 


Any misalignment, injury, or deterioration in one or more of these structures can cause jaw pain or facial pain. These conditions cause TMJ disorder. 


Breathing-Related TMJ Symptoms 


Most everyone knows how dental problems, like toothaches, cavities, and gum disease can be painful and make it difficult to chew. What many people don’t realize is that dental issues, such as teeth clenching, crooked teeth, and an improper bite can interfere with your breathing. 


And while TMJ disorder can develop for different reasons, recent findings suggest that a compromised airway can also cause this condition. This accounts for why many symptoms of TMJ disorder are breathing-related. 


Here are a few symptoms to watch for:


  • Headaches
  • Snoring
  • Restless sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling in your fingers or arms
  • Feeling drowsy throughout the day


Diagnosing TMJ and Breathing Problems the Right Way


Many people experience breathing problems that interfere with their qualityof life. And while TMJ disorder is just one possible cause for this, not knowing if a dental issue is the cause can lead to months or even years of treatments that do little to remedy the problem. 


For people who have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, night guards and splints can offer some treatment benefits; however, when a breathing-related problem is an underlying cause, these remedies only treat the symptoms of the disorder. 


For these reasons, it’s best to undergo a comprehensive dental screening, which examines both your airway and your dental status. In this way, your dentist has all the information needed to make an accurate diagnosis. 


If you have more questions or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to call our Midtown Miami, Fl dentist office today.

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