TMJD (TMJ Disorder) can cause many uncomfortable conditions that make everyday life difficult. You may or may not know that these conditions are linked to TMJ disorders at all. In fact, some of those conditions may actually be causing the TMJ problems to begin with.
Let’s talk about a few of them:
Headaches and Muscle Pain
Common side effects of TMJ disorder are muscle pain and headaches. Pain may even radiate through the face, neck, shoulders and back. All of this originates from tension around the TMJ itself. It is typically induced by stress, or an irregularity in biting patterns.
Clenching and Grinding
Tension in the jaws and muscles around the jaws can cause you to become stressed. When stressed, you may find that you are clenching and grinding your teeth together. Some people do this at night when they sleep or during the day when they are focusing on projects at work or the long commute home. Chronic bruxism can wear your teeth down and even cause them to break. Wearing a bite splint will prevent this from happening, as well as help you avoid side effects like headaches.
Worn, Misaligned Teeth
Altering the function of the joint may mean you’re biting and chewing patterns are also compromised. Over time this can cause your teeth to wear down abnormally. The teeth may appear sharp, flat, worn, or even have broken restorations. Sometimes orthodontic therapy is needed to correct the alignment of the teeth, so that the TMJ can actually function properly. By realigning the teeth with braces, the biting patterns can be corrected and then the jaw will not need to be strained for normal biting and chewing.
Popping and Clicking of the Jaw
When your jaw clicks or pops, it means something is not functioning correctly inside of the joint. Most of the time we will simply monitor this unless it becomes problematic. If the joint ever locks in place or becomes impossible to open and close, it is important to seek professional help. In rare circumstances, the jaw may lock and be impossible to move back into position without assistance from the dentist or other medical professional. If this happens, be sure to contact Marconi Dental Group immediately.
In most cases, we will recommend a non-invasive, non-surgical way to manage your TMJ disorder. We typically only recommend surgical techniques and very advanced, severe cases. The majority of mild to moderate TMJ cases can be managed with options like bite splits, night guards, muscle relaxers, or even a warm compress with over-the-counter pain medication.
At Marconi Dental Group we will screen for abnormalities of the jaw, including TMJ disorders, during your dental exam. If symptoms are noted, we will discuss risk factors, therapeutic methods, or tips to try at home.
Don’t let TMJ disorder get in your way of a comfortable day, every day. Visit Marconi Dental Group to check your TMJ and teeth, so that you can enjoy a healthy smile for the rest of your life.
Video Overview: Bruxism (Clenching and Grinding)
This video shows you the causes, symptoms and consequences of excessive teeth grinding.