TMJD (Temporomandibular joint disorder) is nothing to laugh about. Although a lot of people initially notice the problem when they have difficulty opening their mouth or even eating, TMJ disorders can have a lot of other complications that go along with the condition.
Due to the clenching or abnormal function of the TMJ, the muscles immediately around the joint can become strained. This creates fatigue in the muscles around the ear and throughout the head, giving symptoms of earaches as well as headaches.
Abnormal tooth wear
If the teeth are not biting together properly due to abnormal function of the TMJ, they will begin to wear down. Accelerated wear occurs due to an improper bite relationship, making teeth bite in a way that they were not designed to. This causes the enamel to wear down at an accelerated rate, and not only causes flat, worn teeth, it can also cause damage to existing dental restorations.
Muscle pain through the neck and shoulders
Just like the headaches, muscle fatigue can radiate through the neck and shoulders as well. Some of the muscles attached at the TMJ extend all the way down into the shoulders and top of the back. Tension creates chronic muscle pain throughout areas that aren’t immediately associated with the TMJ.
Damage to the internal disc and bone of the joint can occur if the TMJ is not functioning properly. Your dentist can take an x-ray or scan to determine if damage has already taken place.
Ask your dentist about non-invasive TMJ therapies. Bite splints are an example of a simple, therapeutic way to prevent strain of the jaw and muscles during stress or sleep. Preventing strain on the joint will also improve the side effects from TMJ disorders.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Mitul Patel
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