50% of the american population is suffering from some manifestation of TMJ. Do you wake up in the morning with discomfort in your jaw? Do you suffer from frequent headaches? What about ear popping? Has chewing become difficult, because of tightness as you open your mouth? Did you know these are all common warning signs of TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, as dentists call it. This is a condition that can be caused by subconscious grinding of the teeth, a misaligned smile, or even stress. Fortunately, in many cases dentists can provide minimally invasive TMJ treatment that could help you start smiling again, without fear of jaw pain.
Do you frequently wake up with headaches, or struggle with jaw pain throughout the day? Does yawning create a great deal of pain? Hear a popping noise in your ear when you open your mouth? TMJ disorder can have a significant impact on your bite’s everyday function, and as a result, it can generate a host of different issues beyond jaw pain. These are all symptoms often brought about a condition known simply as TMJ, a disorder of the Temporomandibular Joint, which connects the jaw to the cheek. Fortunately, you don’t have to continue struggling with discomfort or pain. Your dentist could likely provide help!
Are you suffering from TMJ Jaw Pain?
It’s important not to ignore any pains in the smile, since most dental issues will only worsen over time, without treatment. This is certainly the case when there is pain along the jawline; it could likely be due to problems with the Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction.
TMJ Disorder can lead to a host of issues, including increasing pain when chewing, worn teeth or eventually infections of the damaged teeth, poor tooth alignment, as well as subconscious teeth grinding, known as bruxism.
What Are the Warning Signs?
Tenderness or pain is one of the most common warning signs of TMJ. However, many patients suffering from popping sensations in the TMJ joints, ringing in their ears, neck pain or headaches, problems chewing, smiling or pain yawning.
Aching neck and facial muscles
Your jaw, neck, and facial muscles are connected in several ways and rely on each other for certain movements, like smiling and laughing, as well as biting and chewing. When TMJ disorder develops, your neck and facial muscles can become overworked as well as those in your jaw, leading to aches and pains in all three areas.
Ringing and pain in one or both ears
Tinnitus, or chronic pain and ringing in your ears, can often result from the discrepancy in your jaw, neck, and facial muscles. This can affect the sensitive tissues in your ears, and as your TMJ disorder grows worse, your tinnitus can become more repetitive and more severe.
Locking jaw joints
Sore and aching jaw muscles can make biting and chewing difficult, but when your jaw joints and muscles are so exhausted that they lock in place, it can make biting and chewing impossible. Locked jaw is often a symptom of more severe TMJ disorder, and can indicate damage so intensive that your TMJs can’t function for several moments.
How Could a Dentist Help you Suffering from TMJ?
The best treatment for TMJ is dependent upon the cause of the issue. In some cases medical treatment may be necessary, for instance in the case of arthritis or injury. However, in many instances, dentists are able to use a simple treatment like a mouthguard to help the jaw rest in a more comfortable position, particularly at night, as one sleeps. When alignment problems are to blame, it could be that orthodontic or restorative dental treatment, such as tooth replacement, is the best option. If you are diagnosed with TMJ Disorder, sometimes called TMD, the good news is that your dentist could likely help to improve your comfort and to protect your teeth through TMJ treatment. In some cases, TMJ treatment is as simple as having a custom oral appliance created to help prevent further grinding of the teeth at night. Other times, orthodontic treatment could be necessary, in order to help improve the alignment of the teeth. In some cases, restorative treatment may also be necessary to help protect teeth that have become incredibly worn.
If you suspect you could be suffering from TMJ, schedule a consultation with a dentist who specializes in TMJ treatment.
A skilled dentist that specializes in TMJ treatment should be able to help determine the cause of your discomfort and to create a customized treatment plan for you.