Do you experience frequent headaches? What about constant neck pain? If you suffer from chronic pain in the neck and face, you may be exhibiting symptoms of a serious disorder. TMJ disorder, also referred to as TMD, affects an estimated ten million Americans. In today’s blog, Albuquerque family dentist, Dr. Mark Miller, discusses the causes of TMJ disorder, and the treatment options available at Snow Park Dental.
TMD results from strain on the temporomandibular joints. Not only do these joints connect the jaw to the skull, they also control all movement of the jaw, including chewing and talking. Patients with TMD often report a popping or clicking sound in the jaw and experience regular headaches, migraines, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), earaches, neck pain, and facial pain.
For some patients, TMD develops as a result of malocclusion, or a misaligned bite. With misalignment, common activities such as eating or speaking place stress on the temporomandibular joints. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can strain the jaw joints, as well. Patients with bruxism can eventually wear down and damage their teeth. In most cases, teeth grinding is caused by an increase in daily stress.
Since anxiety often leads to TMD-related teeth grinding, reducing the amount of stress in your life helps decrease the severity of TMJ disorder. If you are experiencing pain in the jaw or face, avoid chewing gum or eating hard foods. The repetitive motions of the jaw required for eating these kinds of foods will only add to the strain on your temporomandibular joints.
Dr. Miller can discuss stress management exercises and offer treatment options for TMD. For example, Dr. Miller may prescribe a nightguard. A night guard is a special oral appliance worn while the patient sleeps. The nightguard keeps the upper and lower teeth from touching, eliminating teeth grinding and easing TMD-related pain.
Are you experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder? Contact Dr. Miller today for a diagnosis and to discuss appropriate treatment options for reducing TMD symptoms. Visit our Albuquerque dentist’s office or call (505) 596-4479 to make an appointment. We serve patients from Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Edgewood, Corrales, Los Lumas, Tijeras, Mountain Air, Santa Fe, and Taos.
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