Why You Shouldn't Ignore TMJ Pain

When most people think about taking care of their mouth, they usually think about their teeth. However, your lower jaw is attached to your skull by two complex joints — called the temporomandibular joints — and they can develop issues that affect your ability to speak and chew. Temporomandibular joint disorders are very common, affecting more than 10 million people in the United States every year.

At Skyview Dentistry in Charlotte, North Carolina, compassionate and skilled dentists Seti Byrd, DMD, and Jennifer D’Silva, DDS, are experts in treating TMJ issues. They offer a full range of services to keep your whole mouth healthy. In this blog, they explain what can cause TMJ issues and the treatment options that are available.

Causes of temporomandibular joint problems

You have a temporomandibular joint on each side of your head, and they connect your lower jaw to your skull. These powerful joints control the movement of your jaw and allow you to speak, yawn, and chew food. 

If there’s a dysfunction in one or both of these joints, it’s called a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Temporomandibular disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including the following:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Jaw clenching
  • Genetics
  • Jaw injury
  • Arthritis

Sometimes, the exact cause of a temporomandibular disorder is not known. The good news is that treatment can help prevent the condition from worsening and also help reduce or eliminate symptoms.

Symptoms of temporomandibular joint problems

While there are different kinds of temporomandibular disorders, they have many symptoms in common.

Mild-to-moderate symptoms

Early symptoms of TMJ issues may include the following:

  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Swelling 
  • Popping or clicking
  • Soreness
  • Difficulty chewing

If left untreated, a temporomandibular disorder can cause more significant symptoms and result in damage to your teeth.

Moderate-to-severe symptoms

If left untreated, TMJ issues can result in the following symptoms: 

  • Severe headaches
  • Chronic jaw pain
  • Damage to your teeth 
  • Muscle pain
  • Misaligned teeth

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should get evaluated as soon as possible to get relief from your symptoms and to help keep your condition from worsening.

Treating temporomandibular joint problems

If you have problems with your temporomandibular joints, your provider at Skyview Dentistry will give you a thorough evaluation and go over your treatment options. Your provider will likely recommend conservative options first, such as physical therapy, bite guards, or medications to relax your jaw and relieve your pain.

Your provider may also suggest changing sleeping positions to take pressure off your temporomandibular joints. If conservative treatments don’t work, your provider may recommend surgery to correct any abnormalities.

You don’t have to live with TMJ pain. To find out what’s causing your pain and to get relief, book an appointment online or over the phone with Skyview Dentistry today.

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