Dental issues are no fun. They take time out of your day, money out of your wallet, and, at times, they can be uncomfortable or even painful.
It is for those reasons that most people will do whatever it takes to avoid dental damage. But this can be difficult if you don’t know what’s causing the damage.
Today, you’ll learn about a common cause of dental damage that many people aren’t aware of: TMJ disorder. You’ll learn how this disorder contributes to a number of dental issues, how to avoid those problems, and how a dentist in Mount Prospect can help.
TMJ Disorder: What is it and how can you tell if you have it?
The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, which is your jaw joint. It is the joint where the lower jaw (the mandible) hinges onto the temporal bone of your skull. If you’re diagnosed with TMJ disorder it means something is wrong with this joint.
In the U.S., it’s estimated that 10 million people have this disorder, 90% of which are women. The TMJ is the most used joint in the entire body. It’s no wonder that so many people have this dental issue.
This joint is made up of the skull and jaw bones, as well as a flexible disc made of cartilage. The disc is attached to some of the muscles that help with chewing.
The most common cause of TMJ disorder is disc displacement, an effect of the misalignment of the teeth or jaw. Crooked teeth or misalignment caused by an overbite/underbite/crossbite can lead to disc displacement.
Other causes of TMJ disorder include:
- Erosion of the disc
- Arthritis in the joint
- Joint damage caused by trauma, like an accident or blow to the jaw.
How do you know if you have TMJ disorder?
Here are some of the most common symptoms.
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Pain/tenderness in the jaw
- Facial pain
- An earache in one or both ears
- Aching teeth
- Pain while chewing
- Jaw clicking or popping (something you can often feel and hear)
- Locking of the jaw upon opening
- Dental damage, like cracks and chips in the teeth.
Dental Damage and TMJ Disorder: What happens if this disorder is left untreated
Does TMJ disorder need to be treated by a TMJ dentist like Dr. Tom Meyer here in Mount Prospect? Absolutely! If you avoid getting the necessary treatment, you’ll experience progressive dental damage.
Constant misalignment can lead to bruxism, which is the clenching and grinding of your teeth, particularly at night. Misalignment puts pressure on the nerves and muscles of the jaw. This can lead to swelling of the jaw, as well as pain.
Some people end up in so much pain that they can’t even chew their food because it’s too painful. The pain can be so severe that many people mistake it for a migraine.
Other dental damage caused by TMJ includes:
- Chipped teeth
- Cracks that will continue to deepen
- Fractured teeth
- Wear facets in the biting surfaces of the teeth
- Sensitivity to heat, cold, and bite pressure
- The breakdown of existing restorations, including fillings, crowns, and bridges.
Constant bruxism can wear down the enamel. This leads to the wear mentioned above, and, over time, to the exposure of the dentin and nerve of the tooth. Not only can this result in sensitivity, this type of dental damage can lead to nerve exposure, which means root canal treatment is necessary.
Practicing What We Preach: How a dentist in Mount Prospect can help you avoid costly dental procedures
Is there anything that can be done to reduce the dental damage and complications caused by TMJ disorder?
Thankfully, the answer is yes, you can take preventative steps to reduce the amount of dental damage you experience. Not only will this save a lot of pain, but it will save a lot of money (cosmetic and major restorative procedures can be expensive).
If you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder, take these steps to prevent further dental damage:
- Alternate hot and cold packs to reduce pain and inflammation/swelling
- Take a pain medication, like ibuprofen, if you experience pain
- Avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods
- Don’t chew gum
- Eat softer foods, especially if you’re having a painful flare-up
- Try to avoid opening your mouth wide when talking, singing, or yawning
- Avoid resting your chin on your hand
- Reduce your stress
- Try relaxation techniques, like meditation and biofeedback
- Invest in a massage or physical therapy.
In addition to taking these steps on your own, a TMJ dentist like Dr. Tom Meyer can help you avoid dental damage caused by TMJ disorder. How so?
First, a Mount Prospect dentist will provide you with an accurate diagnosis. Getting this diagnosis will give you and your dentist the information you need to decide upon the best treatment plan.
Next, your dentist can treat your disorder with natural treatments. These treatments include a dental orthotic made to help support the teeth and jaw, that is worn day and night. This orthotic reduces the pressure on your jaw joint, as well as the disc, nerves, and muscles if you clench or grind your teeth.
The result: Less jaw pain and headaches, and less dental damage, like cracked or chipped teeth.
Preventative dentistry for optimal dental health
The team at Meyer Dental Group wants to help you avoid costly dental procedures and stay out of pain. This is made possible with preventative care. When you schedule an appointment with this dentist in Mount Prospect, you’ll have access to multiple preventative services.
These include TMJ pain and dental damage prevention, in addition to routine dental cleanings and regular comprehensive oral evaluations. Using cutting edge technology allows this team to care for their patients while offering a comfortable experience.
If you suspect you might have damage due to TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation right away. Getting a proper diagnosis will help this Mount Prospect team to provide the best treatment for your specific needs.
Do you wake up in the morning with sore teeth? Do you experience a lot of headaches or migraines? These could be signs of TMJ disorder. Contact us today to find out more about this disorder and what the Meyer Dental Group can do to reduce or even eliminate your symptoms.