Have you ever experienced jaw pain, clicking sounds, or difficulty in opening and closing your mouth? These symptoms may be signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). While TMJ mainly affects the jaw joint, it can also have a big impact on your teeth. It is vital to seek treatment when you see the early signs of TMJ. It is possible for the condition to worsen over time. This can cause issues with your dental and overall health.
When you notice the signs of TMJ, be sure to talk to your dentist as soon as possible.
What is TMJ?
The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull. TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, refers to a group of conditions that affect the proper functioning of this joint. It can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility in the jaw. Without the right treatment, TMJ can progress to a much more serious issue.
Common Symptoms of TMJ
TMJ disorder may present with various signs and symptoms. Some of the more common signs include jaw pain or tenderness. Also, many people report a clicking or popping sound in their jaw joints. You may even have difficulty chewing or opening your mouth fully. Finally, this issue can cause tension in your neck and face muscles. This can cause headaches or earaches.
The Impact of TMJ on Dental Health
TMJ disorders can disrupt the alignment of the jaw, leading to a misaligned bite. As a result, the upper and lower teeth may not fit together properly. This can cause issues like teeth grinding or uneven wear on the tooth surfaces. Teeth grinding can create several dental issues.
TMJ-related clenching or grinding can exert excessive pressure on the teeth. Over time, this can lead to tooth sensitivity. The enamel may wear down, exposing the underlying dentin. This may cause discomfort when consuming hot, cold, or acidic foods and beverages. It can also increase your risk of tooth decay.
The extra stress on the teeth due to TMJ can contribute to gum recession. Receding gums expose sensitive root surfaces, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
TMJ-related clenching or grinding stresses the teeth, making them more susceptible to fractures or cracks. This can compromise tooth structure and make restorative treatments, such as dental crowns, necessary.
Seeking Treatment for TMJ Disorders
If you experience symptoms of TMJ disorder, it is vital to consult with a dentist. They will evaluate your jaw joint, bite, and overall oral health. This will help them determine the extent of your condition and develop the right plan.
Treatment for TMJ disorders aims to alleviate pain, improve jaw function, and protect dental health. It may include a combination of approaches. For example, your dentist may suggest changing certain lifestyle habits or reducing stress. Additionally, you may need to try physical therapy. Some patients may need dental splints or orthodontic treatment.