What is TMJ or TMD?
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint syndrome, is a disorder that affects some important joints on the side of your head. These joints connect your jaw to your skull, and they’re what allow you to open and close you’re mouth. They’re a brilliant design: as some of the most complex joints in the human body, they let you move your jaw in a lot of different directions. But precisely because they are so complex, there’s a lot that can go wrong. When something happens with these joints, it can not just hurt, but it can really affect your quality of life. TMJ can cause chronic pain in the jaw, neck, head, face, and even ear. It is even behind some people’s migraines.
What Are the Symptoms?
If your jaw frequently clicks or locks, if you have chronic headaches, ear aches, or jaw pain, or if the muscles on the sides of your face feel tender or cause you pain when you open your mouth widely, these are all symptoms of TMJ. These can range from annoying and aggravating to completely debilitating, and can be a result of jaw alignment issues or constant tooth grinding or clenching.
Who Gets It?
Theoretically, anyone can. In America, 35 million people have been diagnosed by a dentist or other doctor as having this disorder. However, if you’re a woman you are far more likely to have it. 95% of TMJ sufferers are women. According to a study in the Journal of Dental Research, people with obstructive apnea symptoms were also 73% more likely to have TMD symptoms than others. The exactly connection here isn’t yet fully understood, but there does seem to be a link.
How Can A Cosmetic Dentist Help?
When you hear “cosmetic dentist,” you might not immediately think of chronic jaw pain treatment or TMJ treatments. But a cosmetic dentist doesn’t just give people teeth whitening services! A lot of TMJ is caused by tooth and jaw alignment issues, or by teeth grinding or constant clenching. A cosmetic dentist can provide teeth straightening, treatment for teeth grinding, or veneers and dental implants that can help with jaw alignment issues.
Chronic jaw discomfort, pain when you eat, or constant headaches can quickly go from an nagging annoyance to a life-altering disability. Don’t sit around in pain any longer. Go see how cosmetic dental treatment might be able to help put it all behind you.