Aside from genetic issues, like the size, shape, and alignment of your jaws and teeth, the state of your oral health is largely your own doing. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day and you can keep bacteria and plaque off of your teeth, reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Attending a dental checkup and cleaning at least once every six months can help you detect and defeat trouble early, before your teeth and gums are irreversibly damaged. In the case of TMJ disorder, a dysfunction with your jaw’s joints, some habits or neglecting certain dental issues can aggravate your condition without you realizing it.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, which are located just in front of each ear and connect your lower jaw to your skull. A disorder can develop when the joints are damaged, inflamed, or misaligned due to excessive pressure or a traumatic injury. The discomfort of TMJ disorder encompasses a wide range of your head, neck, and face, and symptoms can include;
- Popping or clicking jaw joints when you open and close your mouth
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Earaches and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Stiff and sore face, neck, and jaw muscles
- Teeth-grinding, or bruxism
Factors for Jaw Problems
Experts have yet to define a singular cause for TMJ disorder, but agree that a number of issues can significantly contribute to the disorder’s development. Chronic stress and anxiety can cause continual tension in your jaw muscles, hurting the joints and contributing to TMJ disorder. Dental issues that affect your bite’s alignment, such as crooked teeth or an asymmetrical jawbone, can force your jaw to work harder to keep your mouth straight, and the pressure can also exacerbate your jaw’s condition. One of the most common causes behind TMJ disorder, and also one of its symptoms, is habitual teeth grinding. Known as bruxism, teeth grinding can occur when fatigued jaw muscles spasm, and it can place more pressure on the joints, leading to a cycle of cause and effect that can lead to more severe bruxism and TMJ disorder if not treated.
How to Resolve TMJ Disorder
Since the causes of TMJ disorder are many, treatment depends on the nature and severity of your disorder. For your jaw joints to heal, your bite’s balance must be restored, which might require orthodontic treatment if your teeth are crooked or oral surgery if your jawbone has grown uneven. Minor cases might be treated with just an oral splint designed to relieve the pressure on your joints and allow them to heal. After a careful examination and personal consultation, Dr. Wright will advise you how severe your situation is and which treatment(s) is best to address your TMJ disorder.
About Your Southlake Dentists:
As a native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.