Maintaining the health and integrity of your teeth and gums is an essential part of your routine dental care. By preventing things like tooth decay and gum disease, you can often avoid the need for more extensive treatment later. However, those aren’t the only issues that could impact your oral health, or your bite’s ability to function properly. At our Newhall, CA, dental office, we also offer comprehensive diagnoses and customizable treatment options for conditions such as TMJ disorder, which can dramatically impact your overall bite function.
When your jaws ache, and more
Temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are the two joints that facilitate your jaw movement. Located on either side of the jaw, just below each ear, the jaws are meant to move and glide at the same time, allowing your bite to open, close, and chew comfortably. However, when TMJ disorder develops, it can affect this movement, leading to sometimes-severe levels of jaw pain. The joints’ close proximity to the trigeminal nerve group also means that TMJ disorder can cause a host of other aches and pains throughout your head, neck, shoulders, and back.
When you can’t bite and chew properly
As TMJ disorder grows worse, the damage to your jaw joints can make it increasingly more difficult for you to bite, chew, and speak properly. You may experience clicking and popping sensations each time your jaw opens and/or closes, which will gradually grow more uncomfortable the longer the condition is left untreated. You may also experience occasional lockjaw, during which your bite gets temporarily stuck in the open or closed position. These and other complications with your bite not only raise discomfort levels, but can also have a detrimental effect on your healthy tooth structure.
When your teeth start grinding together
The discomfort and dysfunction of your jaws that results from TMJ disorder is often closely related to another bite dysfunction – constant teeth-grinding. Also known as bruxism, the unconscious act of grinding your teeth together can be the result of muscle spasms in your jaw related to TMJ disorder. It can also occur as your jaw struggles to find a comfortable position while it’s supposed to be resting, especially while you sleep at night. If bruxism and TMJ disorder aren’t address, they can cause significant complications with a wide range of aspects of your oral health, including varying levels of tooth damage. Fortunately, many patients can find relief from TMJ disorder and teeth-grinding with the help of a custom-designed oral appliance, which you can wear at night to protect your teeth and jaws from damage.
Find out if you need TMJ treatment
When you have TMJ disorder, there are several symptoms that can warn you to have your bite and jaw joints examined. For more information, schedule a consultation by calling Newhall Dental Arts in Newhall, CA, today at (661) 259-7760.