Day or night. Patient or not. We're always here for you.
Learning All About TMJ Disorders
A number of disorders can affect your temporomandibular joint, better known as your TMJ. In fact, TMJ disorders refer to roughly 30 conditions that can cause discomfort in your TMJ. If you suffer from a TMJ disorder, you are not alone. Studies have recently shown that roughly 12 million Americans suffer from some kind of TMJ disorder.
Despite TMJ disorders being so common, it’s shocking that more individuals don’t know much about them. In fact, few people ever seek treatment for TMJ disorders. However, they don’t have to live with the pain. They can visit their San Antonio dentists right now to find out if they have TMJ disorders. If they do, they can seek treatment from an orthodontist.
Let’s help lift the veil on TMJ disorders and discuss them more in depth. By the end, you will know more about what a TMJ is, what causes TMJ disorders and what your orthodontist can do to help.
If you are experiencing any pain related to TMJ, please call your orthodontist in San Antonio for an appointment for treatment today!
What Are TMJ Disorders?
The TMJ is the joint that connects your jaw to the rest of your head. As said above, there are roughly 30 disorders that can affect your TMJ, ranging from joint problems to muscle issues. Pinpointing the problem is something that your local dentist or San Antonio orthodontist will have to do.
How do you know if you have a TMJ disorder? Most of the time, these disorders cause discomfort or pain. This pain can be caused by the movement of the jaw or brought on by an uneven bite. In either case, suffering from a TMJ disorder is not fun and something that you should get treatment for as soon as possible.
What Symptoms Do TMJ Disorders Have?
Pain is one of the most common symptoms associated with TMJ disorders. However, other symptoms can indicate that you have a TMJ disorder too. For example, most TMJ disorders cause frequent neck aches and headaches. It’s not uncommon for people to hear a clicking sound when they close or open their mouths either.
Keep in mind that the pain you feel might not just be in your jaw. Sometimes, TMJ disorders can cause pain in the surrounding area, such as your ear. This pain is likely greater when you are biting, chewing, or yawning. Basically, the pain becomes worse when your jaw is in use. If it’s a TMJ disorder that involves jaw muscles, then the jaw itself might be sensitive to the touch.
What Can Cause TMJ Disorders?
Unfortunately, a number of issues can lead to the development of TMJ disorders. In fact, some dentists believe that TMJ disorders are genetic. This means that some people develop these disorders through no fault of their own. For example, some people are born with an underbite, overbite, or a misaligned jaw in general. These problems can all lead to the development of a TMJ disorder.
That being said, there are habits that can increase your chances of developing a TMJ disorder as well. For example, one of the major causes of TMJ problems is grinding teeth. When you grind your teeth, you are putting a lot of pressure on the TMJ. This pressure eventually leads to an inflammation of the joint and a tightening of the muscles. Over time, these issues can lead to the development of a TMJ disorder.
In the same way that grinding your teeth can cause TMJ disorders, stress can too. This is because people tend to clench or grind their teeth when they are stressed. If you are stressed, you might even grind your teeth in your sleep and not even know it.
It should be pointed out that TMJ disorders seem to be more common in women than in men. Scientists are looking into the reason behind this. One theory is that there is a slight structural difference between the TMJ of a man and a woman. Other theories seem to focus around life stressors, psychology and genes.
How Can an Orthodontist Help?
If you are suffering from a TMJ disorder, now is the time to reach out to your San Antonio orthodontist. Depending on the type of TMJ disorder that you are suffering from and what is causing your TMJ issues, there are a few treatment options that your orthodontist may offer.
Night guards are a great solution for people who grind their teeth when they are sleeping. They put these orthodontic devices in their mouths at night when they are sleeping. The material that the guard is made out of will ease some of the pressure on the TMJ when they are grinding. While it won’t stop them from clenching their jaws, it will ease the pressure. Because of that, this isn’t always a great solution if the TMJ disorder stems from stressed muscles.
Another solution is to get a mouth splint, an orthodontic device that covers some or all of your teeth. In most cases, these splints are made from a mold of your teeth. Splints can improve jaw function and relieve pain. That being said, most splints are only temporary and part of a multistep process to provide relief for your TMJ.
Braces are a common treatment for people who suffer from TMJ disorders. If your TMJ disorder is being caused by the improper alignment of your teeth, then braces can help by straightening your teeth. Over time, this will correctly position your jaw and, hopefully, eliminate your TMJ problems.
Let Us Help Eliminate Your TMJ Disorder
Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from TMJ disorders? You don’t have to live with it any longer. Even if you just think that you have a TMJ disorder, make an appointment with our office in San Antonio. We can help you determine if you have a TMJ disorder and discuss which treatment options are best for you if you do.
Don’t wait any longer. Contact our friendly staff members today to set up an appointment. We can make sure that your TMJ pain doesn’t affect your quality of life.