If you’ve experienced jaw pain, are having difficulties with opening and closing your mouth, or experiencing pain from your jaw, mouth, teeth, face, or shoulders, you may have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also called TMJ. This condition may not seem like a big deal, but it can easily become one without treatment. In fact, it's important for both your oral health and overall health to address TMJ as soon as you can.
Causes of TMJ Pain and Discomfort
Any disorder of your temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the rest of your head, can be painful. If the joint is irritated or compromised, pain can grow from an inconvenience to extreme very quickly. Why? Because the temporomandibular joint is so centrally located that discomfort and pain easily spreads from the jaw to your mouth and teeth, ears and eyes, neck and head, and even your shoulders. TMJ is easily brought on by regular daily behavior such as eating, yawning, and talking. Anyone who has TMJ will find themselves suffering simply from performing common daily actions like these.
What Happens to Patients with TMJ Who Are Left Untreated?
There can be major consequences from ignoring the pain and discomfort of TMJ, with pain increasing over time. While over-the-counter pain relievers can help, they are not a cure, and if TMJ is caused by teeth grinding, sleep will likely be disturbed as well, leading to other issues from insomnia to depression.
In terms of dental health, leaving the condition untreated can cause excessive wear on your teeth, or even create the type of strain or wear that causes teeth to crack or chip over time.
And, because the temporomandibular joint is located right beneath your ears, a lack of treatment can lead to conditions such as tinnitus or inner ear problems such as dizziness. Even vision can be adversely affected by TMJ if left untreated.
Jaw problems can also result: the jaw can become stuck, making an emergency room visit necessary. Additionally, over time the cartilage located in the jaw can become injured, and lead to severe conditions such as jaw dislocation.
Leaving TMJ untreated can also cause issues with chewing and biting, leading those suffering from this common issue to eat only soft foods, or even experience swelling in the jaw or face.
So, visiting your dentist for TMJ treatment is a better solution than ignoring or adjusting to the experience of TMJ pain. Treatment is usually as simple as it is effective.
Typically, TMJ can be alleviated by using a mouthguard, one of the fastest ways to reduce the effects your TMJ symptoms cause in your everyday life. When you wear a TMJ mouthguard, it will provide a cushion for your jaw and your teeth, relieving pressure and TMJ symptoms.
Making a custom mouth guard is not difficult. To create a well-fitted, custom guard, your dentist simply makes an impression of your mouth and the mouthguard is molded using a special, comfortable material.
Your dentist can also recommend TMJ exercises and relaxation techniques.
Ready to Learn More about TMJ Treatment?
If you’re ready to learn more about TMJ, TMJ treatment, or to schedule a visit, reach out to us at Mid-Manhattan Oral Surgery today. We’re ready to help, any time.