TMJ disorder isn’t as common as some of the conditions that affect most people’s smiles. For example, things like tooth decay and gum disease can affect a majority of people at least once in their lives, to some degree. The reason they’re so common is because they develop from the accumulation of oral bacteria, which are a constant presence in your mouth. However, TMJ disorder, which stands for temporomandibular joint disorder, isn’t caused by oral bacteria, and the symptoms of its development aren’t always as clear as those of cavities and gingivitis.
You’re not imagining the discomfort
TMJ disorder can be a complex condition that affects more aspects of your oral health than you might realize. Though it originates within your jaw’s joints, the discomfort can spread and manifest itself as chronic headaches, earaches, and a wide range of other aches and pains. If you don’t know that you have TMJ disorder, these symptoms can seem confusing and without cause. The good news is that you’re not imaging it, and there’s a way to alleviate the discomfort and restore the proper, comfortable function of your jaw joints.
It could be tied to your teeth-grinding
Your jaw’s joints, or TMJs, can become compromised in a number of different ways. One of the more frequent is the application of excessive and/or uneven pressure being placed on the joints, which can be the result of several different factors. For instance, if your teeth are crooked or your jawbone is misaligned, then your TMJs have to work extra hard to compensate for it when you bite and chew. The pressure and strain from having to do so can lead to damage to one or both of the joints. For many patients, this pressure is caused or exacerbated by a chronic teeth-grinding habit – a condition known as bruxism.
You might be able to treat it conveniently
When you develop TMJ disorder, the problem with your jaw joints and the symptoms of the dysfunction will grow worse the longer it’s left untreated. Fortunately, TMJ disorder can often be addressed conveniently and comfortably with the help of a custom-designed TMJ appliance. Because the disorder often results from excessive pressure on your TMJs, a custom appliance can be designed to help support your lower jaw when you rest at night, relieving the pressure and strain on your TMJs when you sleep at night. This can help reduce or completely alleviate your symptoms, depending on the extent of your TMJ disorder.
Learn more about your TMJ disorder
TMJ disorder can describe a wide range of concerns, and the better you understand yours, the better chance you’ll have of identifying and addressing it early. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Allen & Neumann Family Dentistry in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.