According to Delta Dental, more than 15% of American Adults suffer from some type of chronic facial pain including headaches, earaches or jaw pain. Most of the source of this type of pain can be related to the temporomandibular joint caused by TMJ. These joints are located on each side of your head and work together with various ligaments, muscles, discs and bones to make movements for you to both speak and chew.
TMJ most often is the result of some ailment with the facial muscles that control movement of the jaw or the jaw or jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw known as the mandible to the temporal bone in front of the each on each side of the head. While these joints are flexible and allow the jaw to move smooth, the muscles attached to or surrounding it may be weak or misplaced.
Many dentists agree that the cause for most TMJ pain is unclear. Some common causes are dislocation of disc between the ball and socket, stress, grinding or clenching of the teeth or osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the joint itself.
Signs of TMJ
While the pain, headaches and earaches are often enough for someone to visit a doctor, they are more commonly pointing to a non-dental issue. However, those with TMJ will feel pain or tenderness in the jaw, difficulty chewing or discomfort while doing so, facial pain, pain in and around the ear and locking of the joint itself. Some patients even notice a grating or clicking sound when the mouth is open and shut.
What TMJ Does to Your Teeth
The most common effect is the pain and sensitivity it brings to the teeth. The bite may also be adjusted as the jaw and teeth adjust to the repeated misalignment. Perhaps the most dangerous part of TMJ is the stress it puts on the teeth itself especially if the person is grinding or clenching their teeth excessively. Not only will they feel pain, but the tooth’s surface may be damaged, eroded or even damaged or chipped as a result of this habit.
The most chronic effect of TMJ on the teeth is the erosion of the bones that support the teeth overall. After the teeth become eroded, the pulp in the teeth becomes inflamed leading to the compromise of the nerves in the teeth. Unnecessary tooth extractions and root canals may be performed as a result of TMJ in the mouth. Ultimately, the treatment of TMJ is increasingly important to not only maintain the teeth in your mouth, but prevent unnecessary dental procedures from occurring in your future.
Most of the time, the pain or discomfort associated with TMJ can be relieved through a series of self-care or nonsurgical treatments such as a mouth guard. Visit a dentist that specializes in TMJ that can best assess your situation and provide you some pain relief. They may use a biofeedback machine which helps to pinpoints problems in the nervous systems or muscles on the face and around the ears.
Dr. Jeffrey Mermelstein from Advanced Dental Care is a dentist providing general dentistry services to his patients. Dr. Mermelstein is also known to be excellent when it comes to restorative and cosmetic dental procedures, along with general dentistry. He has over 30 years of experience and is equipped to handle any dental situation.