TMJ and Your Teeth: What’s the Connection?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, often referred to as TMJ, can cause more than just jaw pain and headaches; it can also irreparably damage your teeth.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is a disorder that is characterized by pain in the joint of the jaw. It can have many causes, from anxiety and stress to oral disease or misalignment of the teeth. Side effects of TMJ can include popping or clicking in the jaw, clenching of the jaw, earaches, headaches and migraines, soreness, and damage to the teeth.
How Does TMJ Affect My Teeth?
Because TMJ sufferers often clench their jaws, this can wear down the teeth, permanently affecting the patient’s bite and causing sensitivity issues. Tooth pain can be a common side effect of untreated TMJ.
How is TMJ Treated?
For less severe cases of TMJ, a soft diet may help reduce symptoms. Foods like scrambled eggs, soup, and smoothies are easier for sufferers to eat and can minimise jaw movement and pain. Dentists may also recommend a night guard if you clench your jaw or grind your teeth while sleeping.
However, there is a new, innovative treatment for TMJ that has recently been approved by the FDA. This small device is custom-fitted to go over the front two teeth, essentially forcing the jaw joint and surrounding muscles into an appropriate position. It is usually worn at night. Over time, it helps reduce the stress on the jaw and can alleviate TMJ symptoms.
Don’t Risk Your Smile
With a variety of treatments now available for TMJ, you don’t have to worry about long-term damage to your teeth if you recognize the signs of the disorder early enough. Talk to your dentist about NTI and other treatments for TMJ to avoid trouble with your teeth later on – your smile is worth it!