A Close Look at TMJ Disorder

Many patients endure for years under the constant hindrance of chronic aches and pains. Often, unsuccessful diagnosis and treatment can add stress to the discomfort. Many people are surprised to learn that headaches, earaches, neck soreness, and shoulder pains (among many others) are the result of a jaw dysfunction known as TMJ disorder. Though the condition directly affects the joints that control your jaw’s movement, the resulting discomfort can manifest throughout your craniofacial structures, including you head, face, neck, ears, and more. Fortunately, your dentist can help you relieve TMJ disorder by correcting the underlying causes behind it.

Jaw Joints and Bite Pressure

TMJ disorder borrows its name from the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, that connect the lower jaw to your skull. Normally, these joints are designed to glide smoothly within their sockets. But, when placed under excessive pressure, they can become damaged, inflamed, and/or misaligned. The dysfunction can disturb the jaw’s nerve, which also innervates much of a patient’s craniofacial structure, and lead to chronic jaw pain, headaches, earaches, etc. Common reasons for excessive jaw pressure and pain include malocclusion (crooked teeth), a congenitally imbalanced or malformed jawbone, a traumatic facial injury, habitual teeth-grinding, and arthritis, to name just a few.

Treatment through Stress Relief

When jaw pain is accompanied by other head and neck discomfort, immediate relief can often be found by gently massaging tense TMJs, or applying heat to relax the jaw muscles and joints. However, permanent relief will require treating the issue causing the bite imbalance to relieve the pressure on the jaws. For instance, orthodontic treatment can straighten crooked teeth and balance a patient’s bite so that the jaw doesn’t have to work overtime to keep the mouth aligned correctly. After a thorough examination, your dentist will consult with you to explain your TMJ disorder, determine your exact goals and expectations for treatment, and describe which treatments can help you and how.

Learn More About Symptoms and Treatments for TMJ Disorder

If you suffer from chronic TMJ pain, then visit your dentist as soon as possible to determine its exact cause and how you should best treat it. To learn more, call Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, today at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of West Forest Lake, Kennedy, Lake Bluff, Skokie, Junction, and all surrounding communities.