When something directly affects the health and integrity of your teeth, like damage or tooth decay, the signs and consequences can be obvious. The formation of a cavity and the increasingly worse toothache are common for most people who experience them. However, some conditions with your oral health aren’t always as direct or as common as tooth decay, and the signs that something isn’t quite right aren’t always obvious. For example, if you experience TMJ disorder, a condition that causes your jaw joints to malfunction, the consequences of it could vary greatly from the symptoms of others who experience TMJ disorder.
How your TMJs should function
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and the TMJs on either side of your joint are essential to the overall function of your bite. When you bite and chew, the two joints move in tandem, which depends heavily on the proper alignment of your teeth and oral structures. Disruptions to this balance can cause one or both of the joints to become strained as they try to keep up. Other factors might cause your TMJs to become inflamed, misaligned, or damaged in other ways, but in most cases, the results include diminished bite function, increasing discomfort, and worse.
Signs of a TMJ disorder
TMJ disorder can manifest itself differently for everyone, which makes it a more challenging condition to diagnose, treat, and recover from. For example, unlike toothaches associated with tooth damage or decay, the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder can include headaches and migraines, earaches, soreness in your facial muscles, and many other symptoms that might not even seem connected to your oral health. These may be accompanied by slightly more related symptoms, such as popping and clicking in your jaws when you open and close your bite, or painful shifting of your jaw when you bite and chew.
How to improve your bite function
While TMJ disorder can be different for everyone, some of the more common factors in its development involve excessive stress and strain on your jaw joints and muscles. For many people who experience TMJ disorder, treatment with a custom-designed oral appliance can often help alleviate that stress and strain. A TMJ appliance is designed to support your lower jaw in a way that properly aligns it with your TMJs and jaw muscles, allowing them to rest more comfortably and without the excess strain as you sleep.
Learn if you need TMJ treatment
If your TMJs aren’t working properly, then the resulting discomfort of your TMJ disorder could become more widespread than you realize at first. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, call Cedar Dental in Cedar Rapids, IA, today at (319) 364-7108.