Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are technically jaw disorders, but their impact can be far-reaching. If you are suffering from TMJ, you might be putting off treatment because you don’t realize just how much of a difference it can make in your life.
Here are 10 benefits of getting TMJ treatment–all good reasons to stop procrastinating and get diagnosis and/or treatment for your TMJ today!
Relieve Jaw Pain
Of course, jaw pain is one of the most common symptoms of TMJ. When your jaw isn’t functioning properly, you can experience jaw pain of many types. You might have a chronic, dull, muscle ache. Or you might feel pain in your joint, which may or may not be linked to irregular jaw motion and locked jaw. Sometimes you might get sudden, stabbing nerve pain when you move your jaw.
All these types of jaw pain can be resolved with TMJ treatment.
Avoid Headaches (Including Migraines)
There are many potential causes of headaches. TMJ is one of the least recognized headache causes, and it often goes undetected by doctors who are not trained to look for it. As a result, people often get headache treatment that doesn’t work because the true cause of your headaches is untreated.
So if you’re not getting good results from current headache treatments–including migraine medication–it might be time to investigate TMJ treatment.
Head Off Other Chronic Pain Conditions
TMJ is one of what are increasingly known as chronic overlapping pain conditions. This includes migraines, lower back pain, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS/IBD), endometriosis, vulvodynia, and more. About 75% of people with TMJ experience one or more of these other pain conditions. Some research suggests that TMJ may lead to the development of other conditions through the release of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Others point to central nervous sensitization as the key mechanism linking these conditions.
In either case, treating TMJ early may head off the development of these other conditions.
Take Less Medication
Taking medication for pain is good in the short term. It can relieve your pain and let you get on with your life. However, taking pain medication often can lead to negative consequences. You might develop a dependency or addiction to the medication. You might start experiencing rebound or medication headaches. Even over-the-counter medications come with significant risk of serious side effects.
Getting a drug-free treatment for your TMJ can help reduce the number of medications you are taking on a daily basis. This can reduce the strain on your system from the medications and reduce your risk of side effects.
Protect Your Teeth and Restorations
TMJ can put your teeth at risk. Chronic clenching and grinding of your teeth can cause them to wear down or break. With TMJ, you might notice that your smile is vanishing as your teeth become smaller and smaller. You might also notice that your teeth are more sensitive than they used to be. You might experience grit in your mouth from chipping or cracked teeth.
It’s important to get TMJ treated before getting cosmetic or restorative dentistry. Otherwise, your jaw problem will wear down and break your restorations the way it did your natural teeth.
Restore Balanced Appearance
TMJ can lead to an unbalanced facial appearance. There are several ways jaw imbalance can, over time, become visible in your face. If your bite forces are badly unbalanced, you may develop larger jaw muscles on one side of your face than the other, which can make your face look off. Your jaw might also rest unevenly because of the way your jaw joints fit together. Finally, jaw imbalance can wear your teeth down much more on one side than the other. This can cause your jaw to sit at a visible tilt.
Treating TMJ can let your jaw and/or muscles normalize, or make a good environment for restorative dentistry to fix an unbalanced appearance.
There are many ways that TMJ can make it hard for you to sleep. One of the most common is just that it causes chronic pain, making it hard to fall asleep. You might also find that tenderness in your jaw makes it hard to find a comfortable position at night. This can extend to your head, neck, shoulders, and back. Teeth clenching and grinding can also interfere with your ability to sleep–sometimes because people who share your bed are bothered by the sound.
Note: TMJ and sleep apnea frequently overlap. If you have TMJ symptoms that include sleep problems, you should consider getting evaluated for both conditions.
Enjoy Food More
TMJ can sap your enjoyment of foods. It’s hard to enjoy eating when eating causes you pain. TMJ can make it hard or painful to open your mouth wide enough for American favorites like hamburgers, apples, and corn on the cob. Chewing foods like steak or popcorn can be difficult.
Even if you are able to chew the foods, you might find that you’re biting your tongue or cheek more often.
With TMJ treatment, it will get easier and more enjoyable to eat again.
Fewer Digestive Complaints
When TMJ makes it harder for you to chew, it’s not just your enjoyment of food that suffers. You are less effective at chewing food, which can cause you to swallow more unchewed food. This can lead to digestive problems, such as upset stomach, gas, bloating, and constipation. Plus, you may not get all the nutrients you need from food.
TMJ treatment can help you chew better, resulting in better digestion with fewer complaints.
Have a Better Overall Mood
There is a strong link between chronic pain and depression. People with chronic pain are much more likely to develop depression symptoms, and as long as chronic pain persists, it’s hard to combat depression.
Treating TMJ will reduce your pain and make it easier for you to enjoy your daily life. Plus with benefits in the way you sleep and eat, you can find you have more energy to be happier as well as healthier.
Get TMJ Treatment in Wilmington
If you are tired of living with TMJ and its consequences, it’s time to take action. Let TMJ dentist Dr. Michael T. Rosen relieve your symptoms to help you experience these and other benefits of TMJ treatment.
Please call (302) 994-0979 or use our online contact form to request an appointment at Dr. Rosen’s office in Wilmington, DE.