Long-Term Effects of TMJ

Long-Term Effects of TMJPain, clicking, or discomfort in the jaw may be indicative of a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.  Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ/TMD) Disorders affect a large percentage of the population.  Estimates suggest over 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ, yet the number of people receiving treatment for TMJ symptoms totals a fraction of that. TMJ symptoms may have a slow onset. Other times, symptoms can begin as painless inconveniences manageable enough to ignore.  Left untreated, TMJ symptoms can grow to become constant and painful and can affect aspects of daily life once taken for granted.

TMJ is the common term describing pain, discomfort, or other difficulties with the joint connecting the jaw to the skull.  This joint (referred to as the Temporomandibular Joint) is responsible for opening and closing the jaw.  TMJ/TMD misalignment, strain, and other afflictions can lead to significant, long-term pain across the entire upper body. Minor symptoms today can lead to larger health issues later left untreated.  Talk to your dentist about addressing TMJ/TMD disorders early or risk suffering serious, long-term health issues.

Migraine Headaches

Temporomandibular Joint disorders have been linked to migraine headaches and other types of severe headaches. Oftentimes with TMJ, the joint connecting the jaw to the skull becomes unaligned.  Attempting to compensate, muscles in the face, neck, jaw, and other parts of the body become fatigued and otherwise stressed.  This can cause debilitating headaches leading to missed work and social opportunities, and affect even the simplest of our daily routines.  Relief may be available through TMJ treatment solutions.

Neck, Shoulder, and Back Discomfort

TMJ can have a radiating effect of discomfort on other areas of the body.  Small adjustments to jaw alignment can cause a number of muscle groups in the body to overcompensate.  This can often lead to muscle fatigue beginning in the jaw before moving along the vertebrae causing pain and aching in the shoulders, back, hips and more.  Over time, this can cause other joints in the body to become affected by alignment issues, leading to increased discomfort across the body.  Adjusting alignment of the bite can help alleviate these symptoms.

Hearing Damage and Loss

The jaw connects to the skull close to the location of the ear canal.  Inflammation of the muscles responsible for opening and closing the jaw can have reaching effects. The area surrounding the ear canal is sensitive and can be affected by the symptoms of TMJ, over time.  This is often misinterpreted as an ear infection, responsible for countless unnecessary doctor visits each year. In severe cases, TMJ can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and other ear damage leading to hearing loss.  Addressing TMJ early can help prevent hearing loss.

Dependence on Coping Mechanisms

People suffering from chronic pain and discomfort sometimes develop dependencies on alcohol or drugs for managing symptoms. This can lead to a host of additional health issues atop those directly connected to TMJ/TMD.  Taking more than the prescribed dose of prescription medication can lead to increased tolerance, decreasing medication effectiveness and damaging internal organs.  Before damaging the body in an attempt to manage TMJ discomfort, talk to a dentist about a permanent solution.

Advanced treatments for permanent relief from TMJ/TMD are available.  Breakthroughs in the field of neuromuscular dentistry allow targeted treatment of TMJ causes and symptoms for permanent relief.  In the majority of cases, patients are able to gain relief from TMJ/TMD symptoms without surgery or other invasive procedures.

A clicking or popping sensation in the jaw may be indicative of larger issues. Left untreated, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder symptoms are likely to increase in severity, causing greater discomfort over time.  If you are suffering from headaches, facial discomfort, earache or other painful symptoms, you may have TMJ.  For TMJ diagnosis and relief contact a qualified dentist and schedule a TMJ evaluation today.  Oftentimes TMJ can be treated non-invasively utilizing individualized treatment solutions.  Relief from chronic pain and discomfort may be closer than you think.  Schedule a dental appointment today and start on the path to relief.