Three out of every 20 people in the United States suffer from pain that seems to have no cause in their face. It can be pain that radiates into the face itself, the cheekbones or the jaw, or it can be pain that causes earaches and headaches.
While it isn’t a surprise to these Americans that they are in pain, the cause certainly can come as a shocker. Our dentists regularly diagnose patients with a condition known as ‘temporomandibular’ dysfunction and it is one of the chief causes for this seemingly unexplained pain.
How Does TMJ Dysfunction Occur?
To understand the facts about TMJ dysfunction, it’s imperative to understand that the jaw is made up of a complex network of bones, discs, ligaments and muscles that all work together to control simple motions like mastication, speech and any other activity where the jaw is required to move.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction occurs when something goes wrong with the way this system works. Arthritis, an improper bite and jaw dislocation or injury can all be causes for TMJ dysfunction.
As the popularity of braces has increased with children, our dentists are also now seeing ore patients who were patients that were treated using orthodontics with TMJ. This is another point to keep in mind.
When TMJ dysfunction occurs, this network of tissue functions incorrectly. Pain can be felt in or around the ear, in the face or in the form of headaches and neck aches. The most common place for pain to be felt is in the jaw itself, particularly in the form of tenderness of the jaw and its muscles, pain of the jaw that seems prevalent during one time of the day, pain during chewing or yawning or in the form of sensitive teeth.
One cause of TMJ that may be surprising is the fact that it can be caused by stress. More people who work strenuous jobs are likely to suffer from TMJ dysfunction. This can include heavy lifting, construction work and any other kind of hard labor.
Facts About TMJ Treatment
TMJ dysfunction is a condition that a TMJ dentist can treat through relaxation, modification of the pain, reduction of inflammation and realignment of the underlying structure that is reposition for the pain.
It should be noted that irreversible treatments, such as jaw realignment and anything that causes a permanent change to the jaw, should be considered very carefully. These treatments can hurt more than they help, thus a second opinion should always be required from another TMJ dentist before beginning these types of treatment.
Contact our Charlotte dental practice today to learn more about our TMJ services and what will work best for you!