I’d gone to my doctor because I keep waking up with horrible migraines. Plus, no matter how much sleep I get I always wake up exhausted. Always. Doc indicated I might want to see a dentist, though he did start me on Topomax for the migraines. I don’t want you to be offended but I’m not sure how my teeth have anything to do with this. I will see a dentist if it’s warranted. I just want to be certain it is.
I’m not offended at all. I can understand you want to be certain you’re seeing the correct caregiver. There are in fact TWO dental conditions which could be contributing to what you’re going through—TMJ Disorder and Sleep Apnea.
Reasons Your Doctor Might Send You to a Dentist
Local doctors will sometimes send a patient to a dentist saying they can’t find anything wrong but the patient truly isn’t feeling well. With x-rays, it turns out they had a dental infection building. A simple root canal treatment and they instantly felt relief. Medical doctors aren’t trained to look into dental issues, so they’ll often overlook those. A wise doctor will have you see one when they can’t figure anything out on their end.
You’re not complaining of general discomfort, so we’ll look at your specific issues.
You’ve mentioned regular migraines. There are many medical causes for these horrific “headaches” and some causes we don’t even know yet. But, there is a dental issue too—TMJ Disorder. This is when the temporomandibular jaw joint is irritated. It can cause mild to severe pain. You can wake up with migraines and even get lock-jaw. There are many causes of TMJ, including a misaligned bite, and treatment will vary on the reason. Take a look at Dr. Potts’ TMJ Disorder page. If you have any of the other symptoms, you may want to see a dentist who treats TMJ.
A second, very specific, complaint you mentioned is waking up tired even with a full night of sleep. This is a classic symptom of sleep apnea. It’s possible the muscles in the back of your throat relax while you’re sleeping. This can cut off your air passage. Your body stops breathing and jolts you awake to open up the passage, clearing the airway for your breathing again. This can happen hundreds of times a night without you even realizing it. If you have sleep apnea, it’s no wonder you’re tired in the mornings. Again, you’d need to see a dentist who treats sleep apnea. Often, a simple custom fitted orthotic device solves this issue.
This blog is brought to you by Libertyville, IL Dentist Dr. David Potts.