A temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder may cause significant discomfort for patients, and this is often the primary complaint that prompts patients to seek treatment for the condition. However, TMJ disorders also have a significant impact on your oral health beyond any pain that you might experience.
When the jaw is not functioning properly, it can put undue stress on the teeth and gums, causing wear and tear on them and potentially increasing a patient’s risk for tooth breakage or gum recession. TMJ disorders are often associated with bruxism (unconscious teeth grinding or clenching), which exacerbates this effect.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder include facial pain, which may radiate to the ear or neck, locking, clicking or popping of the jaw, or a notable change in the patient’s bite.
If you have symptoms of a TMJ disorder, you should schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and get a better understanding of your treatment options. Any one of the jaw’s numerous components can cause a TMJ disorder, and these specialists have in-depth knowledge of the jaw’s structure to determine which component (or components) is at fault in your case.
Depending on the cause of the TMJ disorder, the oral surgeon may initially recommend a more conservative intervention. For example, a patient who is experiencing bruxism that is contributing to a TMJ disorder may be instructed to wear a custom-made mouthguard while sleeping.
For patients whose TMJ is caused by a structural defect in the jaw, such as a damaged disc, the specialist may need to perform a surgical procedure in order to correct the condition. However, if surgery is necessary in your case, it is likely to be an outpatient procedure and most patients resume normal activity within a few days of the appointment.
Are you suffering with symptoms of a TMJ disorder? Effective treatment won’t just improve your quality of life. It will also boost your oral health. Schedule an evaluation with our team at Central Oklahoma Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates to learn what intervention may be most effective in your case.