For most people, the TMJ functions as it should, but some people experience issues like consistent joint pain, that makes every-day oral function difficult. TMJ pain can be controlled with medication, but to solve your TMJ problems permanently, your dentist is the person to see.
What Causes TMJ Pain?
TMJ problems don't always stem from the same cause. For example, in older patients, a bone disease like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis might be a contributing factor.
However, TMJ pain can also be caused by improper jaw alignment. When the jaw is misaligned, it is unable to properly support normal biting, chewing, and even the ability to open your mouth wide, which produces discomfort.
There are also stress-related factors that can influence TMJ pain and contribute to involuntary jaw clenching and teeth grinding, which often increase while sleeping.
Side Effects of TMJ Dysfunction
When jaw muscles and ligaments become overworked because they're not supported, as is the case for TMD sufferers, this leads to symptoms such as pain and tenderness, difficulty chewing and talking, and chronic headaches.
Muscle spasms related to TMD cause patients to clench and grind their teeth. These involuntary actions create other side effects of TMJ, including significant wearing down of teeth's biting surfaces of teeth. This frequent pressure on teeth can even cause cracking and other structural damage.
When the problem is caused by improper jaw alignment, the solution is a customized orthodontic device, called a splint, which is worn to support the jaw. In the case of teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching, the solution is a device called an occlusal guard. It's similar in appearance to a mouth guard, and while it doesn't actually prevent grinding or clenching, it does prevent the tooth damage that these stress-related behaviors cause.
Seek Treatment for Your TMJ Dysfunction
If you're experiencing TMJ pain, it's important to get treatment. Without care, TMJ problems can cause excessive wear and tear on the teeth and chronic pain. If you think you might be experiencing problems related to your TMJ, please call our Clearwater dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daoud. TMJ problems shouldn't be ignored, so make a commitment to getting treatment, ASAP.