Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder, or TMD) is an often painful condition in which the joints, muscles and teeth become stressed.
Statistics show that as many as 10 million Americans live with TMD, and many of them are untreated.
Many contributing factors may cause TMJ disorder, including a misaligned bite, tooth grinding or clenching, joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, or even trauma and injury.
While not life-threatening, if you choose to not treat TMJ disorder, it can contribute to severe discomfort, damage and the potential for loss of use of the jaw.
The pain and discomfort are common symptoms associated with TMD can also frequently lead to depression, anxiety and even malnutrition.
If you’re living with TMD and are not in treatment, we can help. We care about the health of our patients and take your TMD seriously. We can develop a treatment plan that fits your individual needs and get you out of pain — for good.
If you’ve been wondering about your treatment options for TMD or experiencing jaw pain, call us now.
Why Should You Treat TMJ Disorder?
One reason is who likes living in pain? If you’ve experienced the pain of TMJ disorders, you already know that it can interfere significantly in your day-to-day living. Most people with TMDs report problems such as:
- Headaches and migraines
- Neck and shoulder tension and soreness
- Teeth grinding and clenching
- Ear pain
- Back pain
Some TMD patients also report their condition affects even how they sleep, with noisy tooth grinding and clenching interrupting sleep, contributing to insomnia and daytime fatigue.
Other consequences of TMD and living in discomfort include depression and anxiety because of pain and fatigue.
If that’s not enough, think about the chance of developing wear and tear on your teeth and potential tooth loss and gum disease caused by your tooth clenching and grinding.
Choosing not to treat TMJ disorder can also mean the potential for damage to dental restorations, such as bridges, crowns and fillings.
Here are some other reasons you should seek treatment as soon as possible:
Chronic Jaw Pain as a Result of TMD
Untreated TMD means that your TMD symptoms may get worse – including jaw pain. When your jaw pain becomes chronic, that means it goes from happening here and there to day-in and day-out discomfort that can disrupt your entire life.
When you’re experiencing periods of short-term (acute) pain, this a sign that something is not right and that you need to let us know. If you treat TMJ disorder early you can prevent increasing symptoms.
Joint Damage from TMD
Your jaw joints are made of muscles, ligaments, cartilage, bone and other tissues. And when these components become damaged, healing them can take a long time — or they may not heal at all. If you don’t stop the wear and tear now, you could be left with severe damage that requires more in-depth treatments and will result in a more painful experience.
Another frequent symptom of TMD that can worsen over time is a headache. Headaches develop due to damage to the TMJ, which is the joint that attaches your jaw to your skull. This damage can impact the muscles around the joint and cause headaches. These headaches can become severe and are often mistaken as migraines.
Development of a Sleep-Breathing Disorder
As misaligned bites frequently cause TMJ disorders. When your bite is off, and your jaw is not sitting in its correct place, there are consequences for your airway.
This means there’s less oxygen reaching your brain, which ups the potential problems for you, including memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Sleep apnea can also contribute to chronic and severe health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and liver conditions. Other effects of sleep apnea include weight gain, obesity, changes in mood, depression and anxiety, and feeling chronically fatigued.
A Diminished Quality of Life
All of these symptoms can negatively affect how you live your life every single day. For example, these side effects can impact your relationships, how you eat, if you go to work or school, and how you sleep.
And although TMD is not a life-threatening disorder, if left untreated, its symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life over time and leave you depressed, anxious and desperate for a solution.
If you’re ready for a solution, we can help. We use a holistic approach to treating your pain to help restore your quality of life.
As you can likely see, choosing to not treat TMJ disorder is not an excellent option for you in the long term. And, the longer you put it off, the more likely you are to face serious, long-term effects to your dental, oral and overall health.
Do You Think You Might Have TMD?
If you’ve been experiencing pain in your jaw, neck, head, ear or face, you might be suffering from a TMD. We recommend that you give us a call to discuss your symptoms and schedule a consultation today.
We understand TMD. We can help.