If you experience jaw discomfort, or have trouble opening and closing your mouth due to jaw stiffness, then you might know to visit your dentist to find out what’s wrong. However, if you suffer from chronic headaches, earaches, or pain in other areas of your head, neck, and face, then your dental health might not be the first thought to cross your mind. Nevertheless, Dr. Ryan Hussong has helped many patients relieve chronic discomfort by treating TMJ disorder to ease excessive jaw pressure. Today, your Ankeny dentist explains the intricacies of TMJ disorder and the variety of aches and pains that it can generate.
How Well Does Your Jaw Operate?
Temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, connect the lower jaw to the skull, and are the hinges that allow the mouth to bite, chew, and speak. Biting and chewing an adequate amount of food every day generates an impressive amount of pressure, and if a bite is imbalanced, TMJs can become inflamed and damaged from the additional strain. Crooked teeth, one or more missing teeth, a congenital jawbone defect, a traumatic injury, habitual teeth-grinding, and a host of other issues have been identified as contributors to TMJ disorder.
The Many Faces of TMJ Disorder
Once TMJ disorder is identified, treating the jaw dysfunction typically requires correcting the underlying condition. Crooked teeth can be straightened with orthodontic treatment, missing teeth can be replaced with one or more dental implants, and teeth-grinding (bruxism) can be averted with a special mouthguard. Unfortunately, diagnosing TMJ disorder isn’t always simple due to the variety of its symptoms. The jaw’s nerve is only one of three branches of the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the majority of the head, neck, and face and dominates sensory input to the brain. When the nerve is disturbed because of TMJ disorder, resulting symptoms can include;
- Popping jaw, as well as difficulty and pain with jaw movement
- Chronic headaches, including severe migraines
- Recurring earaches and ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Facial pain, soreness, and tiredness
- Face and jaw muscle fatigue
Treat TMJ Disorder with Help from Your Ankeny Dentist
To learn more, or to determine if your chronic discomfort is the result of untreated TMJ disorder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong by calling your Ankeny dentist’s office at (515) 984-6001. Serving the 50007 area, Cornerstone Dental proudly welcomes families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.