You’re probably familiar with many of the ways that stress can negatively impact your health by contributing to conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and mood disorders. But did you know that jaw pain caused by a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can also be intensified by stress?
Patients who are experiencing higher levels of stress and suffering from jaw discomfort should consult with an oral surgeon to see if they might have a TMJ disorder. Specialists in this discipline have an extensive knowledge of the facial structures that can be involved with a TMJ disorder and can recommend the most appropriate course of action to give the patient symptom relief.
Although an oral surgeon is involved in diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the patient will need an invasive intervention. The presentation and underlying cause of the condition varies from patient to patient, so treatment is planned on a case-by-case basis.
In cases when it appears that stress may be exacerbating symptoms of a TMJ disorder, stress management measures, such as meditation, yoga or counseling may be recommended.
Other possible treatments for TMJ disorder include pain management through medication, physical therapy/jaw exercises or appliance therapy (wearing a splint during the night).
If these conservative measures don’t alleviate the discomfort associated with a TMJ disorder or if a structural defect in the jaw is contributing to the problem, the patient may benefit from surgery to correct the issue.
In addition to stress’s relationship with TMJ, high anxiety levels can also affect your gum health. Higher stress is associated with increased inflammation in various tissues of the body, and inflammation causes gum disease. So, patients who get their stress in check can benefit from better gum health, too.
Stress has negative effects on your mind and your body, including your oral health. If you’ve been on edge and notice increased jaw pain at the same time, contact our office to schedule an evaluation. Effective treatment, possibly including stress management techniques, may give you some relief from your symptoms.