When you wake up in the morning, is it difficult or painful to open your mouth normally? Persistent jaw pain or feeling like your jaw is “stuck” is a common symptom of TMJ disorder. Whether from grinding your teeth due to stress or because your jaw is misaligned, TMJ disorder can negatively affect your quality of life and, if left untreated, even lead to permanent damage or additional medical complications. If you are one of the over 10 million Americans that the National Institutes of Health estimates are affected by TMJ disorder, here is everything you need to know about TMJ therapy in Lawrenceburg and why you should not wait to see a dentist.
What is TMJ disorder?
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is the point where the upper jaw and lower jaw connect. This unique joint is composed of the rounded bone of the upper jaw and a disc-like structure made of cartilage, as well as ligaments that hold the joint together and help guide the movements of the jaw.
TMJ disorders cause pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. A combination of factors can contribute to a TMJ disorder, making the exact cause of a person’s jaw pain difficult to determine. Some common causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Bite misalignment
- Grinding teeth
- Stress or injury
- Arthritis or degenerative bone defects
- Poor posture
The Consequences of Untreated TMJ
Avoiding treatment for TMJ disorder can result in a whole host of unpleasant consequences, such as:
- Head, Neck and Shoulder Pain – Pain that starts in the jaw joint can radiate outward and cause headaches and chronic neck, upper back and shoulder pain.
- Ear Pain and Problems – The temporomandibular joint is close to the ears and, as a result, people with TMJ disorder often suffer from earaches, recurring ear infections, tinnitus, hearing problems and even vertigo.
- Jaw Pain – In addition to general chronic jaw pain, jaw muscle tension typical of TMJ disorder can also cause a locked jaw, dislocated jaw.
What Does TMJ Therapy Entail?
Treatment for TMJ disorder targets stress relief and resetting the jaw to its optimal position. First, state-of-the-art technology is utilized to determine your jaw’s natural, comfortable resting position. Next, your dentist may recommend:
- Designing a custom mouthguard to realign the jaw joints
- Replacing missing teeth to reposition how the jaw sits when your mouth is closed
In addition, targeted therapeutic Botox injections may be offered to reduce strain on the TMJ by halting unconscious jaw movements that can aggravate the jaw joint.
Don’t let the nagging pain of TMJ disorder detract from your quality of life. Relieve your discomfort and prevent permanent damage by talking to an experienced dentist in Lawrenceburg today.
About the Author
Dr. Brian Oyler has over 20 years of experience helping patients in Lawrenceburg resolve painful dental problems, including TMJ disorder. The Indiana native spends countless hours each year pursuing continuing education opportunities so he can stay on the cutting-edge of modern dentistry. For more information on ways to treat persistent jaw pain, visit the Oyler Family Dentistry website or call Dr. Oyler at 812-537-4272.