Whether it’s just a slight discomfort in your jaws, an occasional popping and clicking sensation, or severe bouts of discomfort and an inability to function properly, TMJ disorder can affect your jaw in many different ways. Short for temporomandibular joint disorder, TMJ disorder impacts one or both of the joints that power your jaw’s movement. It can lead to a wide range of discomforts, including chronic headaches and migraines, in addition to severe discomfort in your jaw joints and muscles. Today, we take a look at why, and how we may be able to help you find relief from the chronic discomfort.
What healthy TMJs should do
Your TMJs are the joints located on either side of your jaw, and connect your mandible to your skull. Their main purpose is to allow your jaw to move as needed when you speak, bite, and chew, and to do so, both should be aligned properly to accommodate the movement of your bite. This requires the proper alignment of your teeth, symmetry of your jawbone structure, and many other factors. If one factors is off, it can cause one or both TMJs to cease to function properly. The result of the disorder can mean different things for different people, but typically involve increasingly worse discomfort and diminishing bite function as the condition grows worse.
What having TMJ disorder means
Having TMJ disorder isn’t always obvious at first. Many of the symptoms can mean something else entirely, such as chronic headaches, and you may not think to ask your dentist about them at first. In addition to aches and pains, however, you may also notice that your jaw no longer functions as stably and comfortably as it should. The disorder can throw your bite off balance and place further stress on your jaw joints, exacerbating the condition the longer it’s left unaddressed. Fortunately, a professional assessment from your dental health expert can help you determine if you have TMJ disorder, and what the most appropriate treatment for it may be.
The best way to improve the dysfunction
Treating TMJ disorder is a highly personal process. Not only can the symptoms differ, but so can the specific causes of it for many patients. For instance, if tooth misalignment is the root cause of your bite’s imbalance, you may need to straighten your tooth alignment with orthodontic treatment. If the underlying problem is a discrepancy in your jawbone structure, then corrective jaw surgery might be required to restore your bite’s proper function.
Learn more about TMJ disorder
TMJ disorder can have significant impacts on your oral health and bite function, but with customized treatment, we can help you improve it. To schedule a consultation, call our dental office in Los Angeles, CA, today at (310) 446-GUMS (4867). We also proudly serve patients living in Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills, Century City, Encino, and all surrounding communities.