Maybe It’s More Than Just a Headache

Do you suffer from chronic headaches, facial pain and soreness, or discomfort in your neck, shoulders, and head region? Have you tried numerous times to seek help for your condition, or attempted various home remedies to relieve your symptoms, all to no avail? Polk City dentist Dr. Ryan Hussong has seen these symptoms before, and has extensive experience treating patients who suffer from TMJ disorder.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The movement of your jaw is complex, and the mechanisms that allow it to move that way are equally so. The joints that connect your jaw to your skull are called the temporomandibular joints (or TMJs), and are situated just in front of each ear. These joints, and the muscles that surround and control them, can become damaged or fatigued with age, injury, stress, or misalignment. When they are distressed, these joints can cause a considerable amount of discomfort collectively known as TMJ disorder.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Opinions vary on any exact, specific cause of TMJ disorder, but some instances are known to contribute to the condition. Perhaps the most notorious factor is habitual tooth grinding, or bruxism. Most people grind or clench their teeth at times, usually when stressed or angry. However, some people do this constantly, often in their sleep when they are powerless to stop it. The constant pressure and friction can excessively wear down your teeth, which can alter your bite and overtax your jaws, leading to TMJ disorder (and a host of other dental problems stemming from excessively worn teeth). In a twist of irony, TMJ disorder can also exacerbate bruxism. Overly-stressed jaw joints and muscles can twitch at night, making bruxism worse and accelerating the cycle of jaw and teeth destruction.

Can TMJ Disorder be Treated?

The short answer is yes. After a thorough examination to determine that TMJ disorder is the cause of your discomfort, Dr. Hussong will then determine the extent of damage and formulate a specialized treatment plan to realign your bite and relieve your TMJ distress. If bruxism is a factor, you may benefit from a nightguard—a mouthguard worn at night to prevent teeth from grinding against each other. To learn more, schedule a consultation with your Polk City dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. We serve families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.