Airway Issues

Not having a good night sleep?

airway-issues-beverly-maBreathing problems such as allergies or an underdeveloped jaw can cause TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction). TMJ can cause snoring or sleep apnea.

We only need to think of the famous song to understand the jaw bone’s connected to, well, everything. Briefly, when the jaw is not properly aligned, it will have an effect on the rest of the body.

Most of us don’t really think to connect the dots that all point to the same culprit that causes:


  • Headaches and migraines
  • Facial or jaw joint pain
  • Sore throat
  • Numb fingers or hands
  • Pain in the neck and/or back
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Insomnia
  • Visual problems
  • Fatigue


This is only a partial list representative of the possible problems from misalignment of the jaw. If you experience one or more of these difficulties, consider for a moment that it very well could be the result of Temporomandibular Joint, or TMJ disorder. Today, a TMJ dentist can help explain the causes and resolution of jaw pain, the wearing down of teeth or the familiar clicking and popping in the jaw.

Airway issues: TMJ and jaw position

page-images-airway-issuesThe tongue is connected to the jaw bone and when all is properly aligned, the tongue serves to support the dental arch. A misaligned bite will affect the resting position of the tongue during sleep, which in turn and will affect the breathing.

Problems often begin very early in childhood, for instance, with the child that suffers from allergies and is unable to breathe very well through the nose. When defaulting to mouth breathing the tongue drops down in order to allow air flow to and from the lungs. Now the child is no longer achieving the dental arch support. The subtle difference is enough to alter how a child’s upper jaw develops making such airway issues TMJ related.

The causes of TMJ might be an unbalanced bite, skull deformation during birth, injury or trauma, missing teeth, genetics or even unbalanced dentistry. A TMJ dentist is skilled in understanding the myriad symptoms pointing to the airway issues TMJ causes. One of these indicators most of us have learned much more about in recent years is sleep apnea. Dr. Polan, a Beverly dentist,  knows how to recognize and treat sleep apnea.

Snoring: A bit More than just an annoyance

page-images-airways-issues2Snoring has become so accepted that it gets reduced to being something to poke fun at, sometimes with an elbow. Many of us briefly experience snoring when we have a cold or after a few drinks, also called snorts. When it becomes chronic, sleeping in separate rooms may resolve the need for a partner to regain a decent night’s sleep, but it is not the answer to the problem. This is one of the airway issues TMJ causes by constricting the upper airway.

When we sleep, the body naturally goes into a deep breathing mode. Obstructive sleep apnea results in the vibration of the soft tissues, which causes them to become inflamed and swell. The danger with an apnic event is how air is prevented from reaching the lungs for at least 10 seconds. When the number of events in the course of trying to sleep continues, it can lead to excessive daytime tiredness.

The inherent danger from sleep apnea is how easy it can be to fall asleep behind the wheel. When left untreated, it can also lead to cardiovascular disease, acid reflux, depression and more. Your TMJ dentist in Beverly understands these problems and knows how to treat them.

Dr. Ben Polan is an accredited dentist in Beverly who has studied extensively in the field of Dental Sleep Medicine and continues to remain at the forefront of knowledge in this area of treatment. If you are eager to learn about any of these issues or other dental concerns impacting your life, your Beverly dentist is ready to help you.