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TMJ, Bruxism, and Sleep Apnea in Greeley, CO

If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from a sleep disorder, finding relief can sometimes feel like a confusing and overwhelming process. Undiagnosed sleep apnea can take up to a decade or more off of your life expectancy. 

At Greeley Dental Care, Dr. Taher Dhoon makes it possible for you to have improved oral health, improved overall health, and a good night’s sleep using non-invasive and convenient oral appliance therapy.

The Connection between TMJ Dysfunction, Bruxism, and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Because sleep disorders are so common and create so many dental-related issues, we evaluate each new patient for signs of TMJ dysfunction (jaw joint issues), bruxism(clenching and grinding), and obstructive sleep apnea. 

These conditions are often related and can have a negative impact on both your oral health and your overall health.

Common Symptoms Associated with TMJ Disorders and Bruxism

A person who suffers from bruxism causes the same amount of wear to their teeth in one night as someone who does not have a clenching and grinding habit creates in 100 nights. 

Bruxism results in a sensitive and aged smile and even multiple broken teeth over the years. Dr. Dhoon will examine your teeth, jaw, and mouth for signs of bruxism and figure out the best way to treat this damaging condition.

These can include:

  • Head, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Facial swelling or pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Clicking, popping, or locking of jaw joints
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Worn, chipped, or cracked teeth
  • Bony growths beneath the tongue (tori)
  • Bite marks along the inside of cheek tissue
  • Teeth that do not come together correctly
  • Inability to fully open jaws

These symptoms may come and go and gradually worsen over time, greatly diminishing your quality of life and the amount of restful, restorative sleep you actually get each night.

If Dr. Dhoon identifies a nighttime clenching and grinding habit or finds that you have damaged jaw joints, he will discuss potential treatment options to provide relief and correct your condition.

Common Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Often, the first sign that you suffer from sleep apnea is a complaint from your partner of snoring or concern that you stop breathing during your sleep. Not only is this troublesome when it comes to the intimacy in your relationship, but it can also cause serious health implications including:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Mood disorders
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Obesity
  • Complications with diabetes
  • Early death, by twelve years on average
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder)
  • Increased risk of a motor vehicle accident, by up to 19 times
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Dementia
  • Depression

At Greeley Dental Care, we offer a take-home, inexpensive sleep test to monitor your nighttime sleep patterns. Once the device gathers your data, we send it for analysis by a certified sleep specialist and will determine the best way to treat you based on your specific condition.

We make this process as affordable and convenient as possible for our patients.

In the medical field, the first line of treatment is often CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy using a facial mask that you wear at night. As you can imagine, many people find it difficult to adjust to wearing a mask during sleep.

Dr. Taher Dhoon provides an alternative for patients seeking a more comfortable and convenient form of treatment. This alternative is called oral appliance therapy (OAT). The American Academy of Sleep Medicine endorses OAT as an alternative for sleep apnea treatment.

Oral Appliance Therapy for TMJ, Bruxism, and OSA

Custom oral appliance therapy provides relief of symptoms and also corrects the harmful condition at its source.

We create bruxism appliances right here in our office, giving you instant relief on the same day. Bruxism appliances gently separate your upper and lower teeth, preventing damage from grinding. Your oral appliance also guides your jaw into a comfortable position that reduces inflammation and pain. With regular use, your muscles relax and damage to your jaw joints is reduced.

A sleep apnea oral appliance gently guides your lower jaw forward to open your airway, allowing for the free flow of oxygen. This reduces the number of instances in which you unconsciously awaken during sleep and allows you to achieve the restorative sleep you need to stay healthy. Your partner will deeply appreciate the sweet sound of silence because oral appliance therapy also relieves loud snoring.

Do You Snore or Grind Your Teeth at Night?

Contact our Greeley, CO dental office to learn how advanced dentistry can improve your smile, comfort, and overall health using oral appliance therapy.

Meet Our Doctor


Dr. Taher Dhoon

Dr. Taher Dhoon was born in Utah, where he learned to love the outdoors. He later moved to California, receiving his BA in Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. He went on to earn his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. While in dental school, random seating placed him next to another aspiring dentist, named Bridget, who would later become his wife. Since graduating, he has earned a Fellowship in the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, has qualified for ...


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for my jaw to pop?

A popping or locked jaw can be painful! A popping jaw indicates that something is not functioning properly. People often refer to this as TMJ or TMJD , which stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Your jaw, muscles, teeth, and occlusion (bite) all contribute to the health of your jaw function. Inflammation or degeneration can cause a host of symptoms that include: Popping, locking, or clicking of your jaw joints Headaches, facial pain, or migraines Ringing in your ears or feeling like your ears are clogged Shoulder, neck, or back pain Inability to open your mouth completely Teeth that do not come together properly If Dr. Dhoon has the opportunity to diagnose your jaw condition early, he can provide treatment and potentially help you avoid surgery. A TMJ splint or an oral appliance called an NTI can guide your jaw into its proper location, allowing your muscles to relax. For many patients, this means dramatically reduced symptoms including fewer headaches. Bruxism, or clenching and grinding your teeth, is now classified as a disease and can contribute to TMJ dysfunction. An oral appliance addresses this problem as well, reducing wear and damage to your teeth caused by your teeth coming together in your sleep. An NTI device separates your teeth, prohibiting your teeth from damaging each other.

Why is grinding or clenching so bad for your teeth?

It can cause breaking of teeth or fracturing of fillings. It can also cause pain on muscles, and cause extra bone growth on lower jaw and if that patient were ever to need dentures they would need that removed.

Sleep apnea screening in a dental office?

There are many signs that can be seen inside your mouth that can be related to sleep apnea. Planning an appointment to see your dentist can be a great resource to learn if you have conditions that could point to sleep apnea. You can fill out a sleep screener, have an exam with your dentist, and start the process of having a sleep test. Ninety percent of people who have sleep apnea are undiagnosed. Sleep apnea can take 15 years off your life and is a major contributor to many disease conditions. Some of the things that your dentist will look for include: your airway openness, your bite classification and palate condition, if you have abfractions at your gum line and receding gums, if you clench and grind your teeth, if you have scalloped tongue and/or bite marks on your cheeks, as well as considering your existing medical conditions that can be associated with sleep apnea.