November Is Also Known As TMJ Disorder Awareness Month!

November Is Also Known As TMJ Disorder Awareness Month!

November is filled with a variety of noteworthy days. We have the commencement of the fallback during daylight savings, the transition from fall to winter, elections in the US, Thanksgiving and the very anticipated Black Friday! But there is an honorable mention that we would like to add to the mix and that is TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Disorder Awareness Month. If you have never heard of TMJ Disorder, not to worry, Quince Orchard Dental Care will share tips on how to identify TMJ Disorders and how to manage it.

What is TMJ?
The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint, a ball and socket joint connecting your jawbone to your skull, one on each side of your head. This joint, along with the others in the jaw and mouth, help you to chew, speak and swallow. Your temporomandibular joint is located just an inch below your ear on either side of your face. If you were to place your fingers there, while opening and closing your mouth, you could identify the TMJ. Felt it? Mind blowing, right? 

What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ Disorder is also referred to as TMD and it can occur when the joint is inflamed or if there is a strain or injury that causes dysfunction. This causes excruciating pain that makes daily activities harder to execute.

TMJ disorders affect millions of Americans, especially women between the ages of 20 and 40. These patients describe it as painful and restricted jaw movement, unaware that it is actually TMJ Disorder.

There are many people that suffer from TMJ Disorder that are unaware of what it is, simply because they don't know how to identify the symptoms correctly. Here are some very common symptoms of TMJ Disorders to look for: 

  • Headaches, especially in the temples
  • Earaches
  • Tenderness in the jaw area
  • Painful chewing 
  • Stiffness or locking of the jaw, which makes it difficult to open and close the mouth.
  • Clicking or popping of the joint

Some causes of TMJ Disorders are: 

  • Jaw misalignment
  • Dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket joint.
  • Grinding and clenching (bruxism)
  • Injury to teeth
  • Physical injury
  • Stress
  • Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Poor posture

The funny thing about the human body is that it is like a machine that works interdependently. If TMJ Disorder is left untreated it can cause a whole lot of issues in other parts of your body such as malnutrition and deteriorating oral health. With an untreated TMJ Disorder, you open yourself to increased discomfort and more risks. The chronic headaches, earaches and jaw pain that you currently feel will only intensify. The temporomandibular joint will be unable to heal causing further joint damage and inflammation. If your TMJ Disorder is caused by a misaligned jaw, you can develop sleep apnea thus, compromising your airway preventing you from enjoying a good night's rest. 

If you have noticed that you experience any of the symptoms of TMJ Disorder, please talk to your doctor about the following treatments to see which option may be best for you:

  • Periodic TENS Massage
  • Bite Splint 
  • Full Mouth Reconstruction 
  • Orthodontics
  • Coronoplasty

If you suspect that you may be a patient of TMJ Disorder, please contact Quince Orchard Dental Care to make an appointment so that we can do our best to alleviate all of your discomforts and have you feeling as good as new!