How Serious Is TMJ?
What Is TMJ?
It is a term that commonly refers to an oral problem affecting the jawbone. It is an acronym for temporomandibular joint, a connective tissue that links the jawbone to the skull. Any irregularities and dysfunction of the joint lead to temporomandibular joint disorder also called TMD. However, people use TMJ and TMD interchangeably to refer to the dysfunction of the connective joint.
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ specialists in Bay City acknowledge that various factors can contribute to a dysfunctional jawbone. Some causes are more severe than others, which may be why some patients merit emergency treatment. Some known causes of TMJ are:
- Dental trauma – is the most obvious cause. An accident or injury near your mouth can cause jaw fractures or dislocation of discs in the connective joint.
- Excessive teeth grinding – is a condition called bruxism, typical among children when they sleep at night. Excessive teeth grinding places too much pressure on your teeth and jaw, which may lead to TMJ disease.
- Arthritis – does not just affect your bones but can also cause TMJ syndrome.
- Facial clenching – is a typical problem for people battling chronic mental conditions like anxiety and depression.
- Poor posture – your sleeping position can contribute to a problematic jawbone.
What Are the Common Indicators of TMJ Syndrome?
The surest way to know whether you suffer from TMJ is by getting an accurate diagnosis from a TMJ specialist near you. This way, you will be treating the exact condition instead of only addressing the symptoms. However, considering the following signs of TMJ is a good place to start so you can seek relevant treatment:
- Jaw pain when you chew.
- Jaw lock – your mouth will likely be stuck when you open wide to laugh or yawn.
- Swollen and tender jaw and gums.
- Clicking sounds when you move your mouth.
- Ear pain and sensitivity.
- Migraine headaches.
How Does TMJ Affect Your Oral and General Health?
At Dr. Teeth Dental Care – Bay City, we try to sensitize patients on the seriousness of TMJ since many still downplay its impact on oral health. TMJ is a serious condition that can significantly deteriorate your oral and general health. Some of the complications of TMJ are:
- Toothaches – even though all your teeth may be healthy and free from infections, you may experience severe toothaches due to TMJ.
- Orthodontic complications – TMJ causes a significant change in your bite, straining the alignment of your teeth and jaw. Over time, you may develop severe orthodontic complications involving improper bites.
- Extensive dental pain – can be limiting enough so you cannot eat properly. Any condition that impacts your nutrition threatens your oral and body health alike.
- Long-term sleeping disorders – sleep is an important part of your health. Jaw pain and migraines caused by TMJ can be enough to cause severe sleeping disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia.
- Depression and anxiety – even though mental health problems can lead to TMJ, the reverse is true. If you are in constant pain and experience difficulty eating, you may develop mental disturbances leading to anxiety and depression.
Overcoming TMJ Syndrome
The first thing you must know is that you cannot treat TMJ by yourself. Therefore, find a dentist in Bay City for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Besides, the underlying cause of your condition dictates the treatment parameters that would effectively solve your problem. Some tips for overcoming TMJ syndrome are:
- Mouthguard – wear a mouth protector to guard your teeth and jaw, especially if you are involved in high-contact sports or extreme physical activity. Better yet, contact a dentist near you to customize a mouthguard for sleeping conditions or teeth grinding.
- Change your sleeping posture – something as small as adjusting how you sleep can improve your jaw’s health. Further, get more comfortable pillows that can support your head without placing unnecessary pressure on your jawbone.
- Eat right – hard tough-to-chew foods will only aggravate your TMJ symptoms. Eat soft foods that allow you to rest your jaw.
- Muscle-relaxants – get a prescription from your dentist on the best muscle relaxants to ease the tension in your jawbone.
- Manage your mental health – find ways to manage stress and anxiety. You may need to start taking anti-depressants for your depression.