What is TMJ?
February 8, 2023
Many of our patients who have been given a diagnosis of temporomandibular joint disease (TMD) inquire, “Is TMJ disorder serious?” This disorder can seriously affect your oral and general health, even though it is not life-threatening. These joints, supported by a network of muscles and ligaments, enable your jaw to move. TMD can go out of balance and result in pain, ear ringing, and bite issues. Effective TMJ treatment in Omaha, NE, is the strongest defense against TMD’s painful and detrimental effects.
Causes and Treatment of TMD
What Is a Temporomandibular Joint?
The intricate connection between your teeth, mandible, muscles, and other nervous systems that cooperate to govern your lower jaw’s movement is known as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ for short. The joint serves as a hinge, enabling you to open and close your mouth as well as breathe, talk, eat, and yawn.
Occlusal (bite) trauma or an injury to the temporomandibular joint can lead to TMJ dysfunction. Nevertheless, microtrauma is the most common cause of TMD. Another common cause of chronic jaw pain and discomfort is nocturnal bruxism, which is the involuntary clenching, gnashing, and grinding of the teeth as you sleep. Other causes are the following:
- Ongoing worry or anxiety
- Lower back pain that is related to posture
- Breathing disorders during sleep
- Osteoarthritis of the joint and arthritis
- Teeth clenching, grinding, or gnashing
- Tooth misalignment or excessive malocclusion
How TMJ Disorder Affects Your Physical Health If Untreated
Your jaw joints are all situated beneath your ears. As a result of the auditory nerves in your ears being damaged by joint inflammation, you may experience hearing loss or tinnitus. Without treatment, TMD can permanently cause the jaw to lose its bone mass and cartilage. While the jawbone may decay, the cartilage that cushions the joint may also deteriorate, leading to uncomfortable jaw friction and raising the risk of jaw dislocation.
Untreated TMD can result in unpleasant headaches, including migraines. Patients will also experience wear and tear to their teeth in the form of flattened chewing surfaces and little cracks as their bruxism increases.
Bruxism is the excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth. TMD can sometimes lead to bruxism, but it can also happen the other way around. The illness results in jaw stiffness, jaw pain, and maybe radiating discomfort in the head, neck, and upper back, regardless of whether the ailment developed first.
How Is TMJ Cared For?
The first step in treating TMJ issues is identifying the source of the pain and discomfort. The patient’s history will be thoroughly examined, along with your range of motion, postural alignment, the health of cranial nerves, the texture and tone of your muscles, and the health of your autonomic nervous system.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your dentist may advise oral medicine, muscle relaxants, dental appliances, occlusal appliances, orthodontic work, or oral surgery. However, the best course of action for you will depend on the cause of your TMJ problem.
While there are several treatments for TMD, pain and discomfort aren’t always eliminated. As a result, since there are no known solutions for diseases like arthritis and joint osteoarthritis, treatment must concentrate on managing symptoms.
Are You Looking for Effective TMJ Treatment in Omaha, NE?
Some lifestyle and behavioral changes can help with the therapy of your TMJ issue. This can entail developing a regimen to reduce the stress and worry that cause jaw muscle tightness. Alternatively, your dentist will advise that you eat softer, easier-to-chew foods. Please schedule an appointment with us for more information.