TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disease is a debilitating disease that can worsen over time and cause a host of different issues. In most cases, it can be caused by misalignment of the teeth, which in turn can put abnormal stresses on the jaw joint. This joint is in the skull and jawbone. TMJ is probably one of the most overlooked and misdiagnosed diseases as its symptoms can range from migraines to neck and shoulder pain and even ear pain.
The good news is that, once diagnosed, there are excellent non-surgical ways to treat this disorder. Some which include AGGA (Upper jaw remodeling appliance) or conservative porcelain restorations to build the jaw to the correct physiologic bite.
What are some common symptoms that can help one recognize TMJ Disorders?
- Joint noises or clicking and popping Noises in the jaw are an indication of something happening with the joint. If your knee popped everytime you walked would you think something is wrong? The same applies to the jaw joint, however, not everyone needs treatment with joint noises, but it is a definite indication of some aberrant jaw function or damage
- Your Jaw Locks Up Your jaw locks when you are trying to open your mouth, chew, or talk… this is an indicator of TMJ disorders and treatment is needed.
- Pain in the Jaw or Ears This is common in patients who have TMJ issues. The joint is usually compressed back against the ear which can put abnormal pressure on nerves and/or the joint space
- Headaches, migraines, neck or shoulder pain When the jaw is misaligned, TMJ can cause these issues due to overworked muscles and referred pain. Sometimes airway issues can also cause a forward head posture that further exacerbates the neck pain
- Tired Muscles in Your Face Many patients express a tired feeling in their facial muscles, this is often due to overworked muscles due to the way the teeth meet together. In short, the muscles, teeth, and jaw joint are not in harmony.
- Your Teeth Do Not Meet Together Evenly When you put your teeth together, you may feel as if you do not have a comfortable “home” to close too. Some feel they are hitting their front teeth first or one side first.
- Worn Teeth It is not normal to wear your teeth down prematurely, however, if your jaw is out of alignment, your teeth may wear down and chip much faster than normal. This is similar to driving a car with the tires out of alignment.
- Sleep Disorders or Airway Issues This is one that is highly overlooked. Sometimes patients have airway issues or sleep apnea due to the jaw being forced back and closing the airway. Grinding and forward neck posture are often compensatory things that happen to try and open the airway.
- Facial Asymmetry When the jaw is misaligned the muscles often function abnormally and cause changes in the face ranging from asymmetry to enlarged or deteriorating jaw joints leading to changes in the face. This can be premature aging due to sagging jawlines too.
As one can see, TMJ is a complex entity that affects multiple parts of our body and well-being. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Houston TMJ Treatment or Houston Non-surgical Jaw Treatment, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, 713-668-2289.