Do you know the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull, called the TMJ or temporomandibular joint, can develop problems at any time? TMJ disorder or TMD is where the jaw joints become so stressed that they end up injured or misaligned.
A TMJ disorder can develop for a variety of reasons, including stress, grinding and clenching your teeth (or bruxism), arthritis in the joints and trauma or injury to the head, neck or jaw areas. If you are noticing problems with your jaw, you’ll want to speak with our prosthodontists if the symptoms linger because they often worsen, affecting how you speak, chew, swallow, breathe as well as how you control the muscles in your face.
Don’t Ignore Your TMJ/TMD Symptoms
Depending on what is causing your symptoms, left untreated, they can get worse, especially if the problem has to do with structural damage to the jaw. This means that while your jaw may stop popping, locking or clicking, it might be because the jaw bone and the cushion is ruined from the relentless rubbing, destroying the ligament and allowing the bone to rub on bone with no cushion to buffer.
Of course, TMJ issues can harm both the bones in your face as well as your teeth, especially if your facial muscles feel painful and you begin bruxing – where you clench your jaw and grind your teeth, often in your sleep. Left untreated, bruxism can cause the following problems:
-Wear down tooth enamel
-Crack or fracture teeth
-A deepened bite
-Tooth root issues
TMJ can also leave you with medical issues like migraines, chronic emotional stress, joint disease and problems sleeping so you end up with chronic daytime fatigue.
Our prosthodontists, Dr. Goggins, Dr. Aguirre and Dr. Pitz, are here to evaluate your TMJ disorder and provide treatment as needed. Treating TMJ/TMD might involve jaw and facial relaxation exercises, changes to your day-to-day habits, restorative dental treatments, wearing a mouth guard or night guard, and as a last resort, jaw surgery. If you are tired of your jaw pain and want help alleviating it, we welcome you to call our team to schedule your consultation and get the help your smile deserves!