Pain can be stressful. If you live with chronic pain (either steady or some that comes and goes), your quality of life suffers. You can even have trouble relaxing to get rid of the stress. And when it comes to TMJ disorders, stress can create a vicious cycle.
Call our San Antonio, TX dental office today at 210-951-4444 (Medical Center) 210-942-5047 (Alamo Ranch) and schedule an appointment for TMJ treatment. With ouf dentists’ advanced training and skill, you can get help before stress turns that annoying jaw pain into something debilitating.
TMJ Pain Can Spread
TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joints.” These are the joints that control your jaw. You use your TMJ when you chew, but you also use them when you drink, laugh, talk, yawn, and breathe through your mouth. Whenever that jaw moves, so does your TMJ.
That’s why TMJ disorder can be such a big problem. You depend on your jaw joints over and over again each day. When these start to get painful, you’re having discomfort when you eat, talk, and so on. Imagine sitting down to your favorite meal with good friends and being unable to enjoy either without pain and discomfort.
Unfortunately, that’s the tip of the iceberg. Because your muscles are interconnected, TMJ pain can spread to the muscle groups nearby. People who have TMJ disorder can have the following:
- Neck and shoulder pain.
- Upper back pain.
- Ear pain and ringing in the ears.
- Headaches and migraines.
Eventually, untreated TMJ disorder can lead to lockjaw: When you cannot open or close your mouth.
What causes TMJ disorder? Mostly, it happens when your jaw joints get overworked. Your muscles and joints need rest. That’s how they heal naturally. With TMJ disorder, your jaw joints never get that time. They are always sore, and that’s what starts you down the path of stress and pain. Your TMJ can also be injured, or arthritis can affect the cartilage in your TMJ.
That’s why you need to call our San Antonio dentists today at 210-951-4444 (Medical Center) 210-942-5047 (Alamo Ranch) . What starts out as just a little jaw pain from time to time can lead to pain, migraines, and lockjaw.
Teeth Grinding Gets Involved, Too
If that wasn’t enough, TMJ disorder is associated with bruxism. This is the technical term for grinding your teeth unconsciously. Bruxism often happen while you sleep, but you can find yourself grinding your teeth at any time of the day.
People with TMJ disorder often have bruxism. All that grinding (especially at night when your jaw joints should be resting) puts extra stress on your TMJ. This makes the problem worse. In addition, bruxism damages your teeth by grinding away some of the enamel.
Stress Makes It All Worse
TMJ disorder happens because your jaw joints (and the muscles there) are overworked. They never get a chance to rest and heal naturally. All that pain and discomfort is stressful, and that creates a vicious cycle:
- You’re in pain, so you get stressed out.
- Being stressed causes your muscles to tense up.
- The muscles impacted by TMJ disorder don’t relax.
- This creates more damage and amplifies the pain.
- The added pain gets you stressed out some more.
- And so on, and so on.
To break this stress-TMJ cycle, you need effective TMJ treatment.
Bruxism And TMJ Treatment
At Cosmetic Dental Associates, you can get two treatments for your TMJ disorder and related teeth grinding.
Custom dental splints: A dental splint is a small, comfortable device similar to a mouthguard but smaller and thinner. You wear it at night. The splint repositions your jaw and takes some of the pressure off your TMJ. This allows your jaw joints to heal naturally like they should be doing each night. Dental splints can also cover your teeth to prevent them from getting damaged by bruxism.
Orthodontic treatment: If your teeth or jaw are not positioned correctly — you have a problem with your bite called malocclusion — you could be putting extra stress on your TMJ. Orthodontic treatments like Invisalign, ClearCorrect, Invisabrace™, and traditional braces will gently reposition your teeth and jaw so your bite does not damage your TMJ.
TMJ Disorder Only Gets Worse Without Treatment
Call our San Antonio, TX dental office today at 210-951-4444 (Medical Center) 210-942-5047 (Alamo Ranch) and schedule your next appointment for TMJ treatment. For almost everyone, TMJ pain just gets worse without treatment. That can stress you out, which creates that bad stress-TMJ cycle. Thankfully, our dentists have the right mix of training and practical experience to break that cycle and bring you relief from TMJ pain.