Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder affects nearly 35 million Americans. The temporomandibular joints are situated on either side of the face. Connecting the upper and lower jaws, these joints aid in movements used when eating and speaking. TMJ disorder can cause discomfort including chronic headaches and jaw pain as well as damage to your teeth. At our Phoenix, AZ dental practice, Dr. John Dovgan offers conservative TMJ treatment through oral appliance therapy to alleviate these symptoms and protect your smile.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
There is no single known cause of TMJ disorder. However, there are several risk factors which contribute to the development of the condition. Oftentimes, TMJ issues are a direct result of an uneven bite. When the bite is unbalanced, it can place excessive pressure on the jaw joints. As your jaw muscles try to compensate for the problem, the joints become fatigued.
Living with TMJ disorder can be debilitating but in most cases, a custom oral appliance can provide relief.
TMJ disorder may also be caused by trauma, arthritis, or bruxism (teeth grinding). If not treated in a timely manner, this condition can lead to more serious oral health-related concerns.
Signs and Symptoms
The symptoms of TMJ disorder are vast and varied. Common signs of this condition include:
- Severe jaw pain
- Tooth erosion
- Neck, shoulder, or back pain
- Sore or fatigued facial muscles
- Ringing in the ears
- Clicking or popping sounds upon opening or closing the jaw
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a visit with Dr. Dovgan right away. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key for long-lasting success.
The Importance of Treating TMJ Disorder
Untreated TMJ disorder can lead to chronic pain and jaw dysfunction. Over time, these symptoms can result in a substantial decrease in your overall quality of life. Early intervention can help you avoid invasive and costly treatments to correct serious side effects of TMJ disorder.