If you notice tightness, soreness, or loss of mobility in your jaw, you might be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ. These symptoms feel massively uncomfortable, but they can worsen without treatment from your dentist.
Your dentist will address the root cause of the disorder to alleviate the symptoms. These may vary for each patient. Multiple factors could generate pressure on the teeth and jaw that will lead to TMJ. Read on to learn more about three specific reasons why dental patients can develop TMJ and how your dentist can address them.
High Stress Levels
Stress can take its toll on your body, including your mouth. Increased stress levels can create or worsen teeth grinding or clenching habits. Dentists refer to this behavior as bruxism.
When you grind or clench your teeth, the grating of the bottom teeth against the top ones generates pressure that can extend from the teeth to the jaw. It can tighten the muscles there, leading to uncomfortable TMJ symptoms.
Dentists can suggest stress relief activities and stretching exercises that can loosen these muscles and relieve the symptoms. But bruxism can occur unconsciously, including during sleep.
In these cases, your dentist may recommend that you wear a nightguard as you sleep. This can keep the jaw aligned so that the muscles can rest in comfort during the night. It will also cushion your teeth from the pressure caused by bruxism that may occur during sleep.
If you have teeth that overlap or have gaps, you may not be able to close your mouth properly. A misaligned bite can mean that you experience extra pressure when performing oral functions like chewing and speaking. Over time, this can lead to TMJ disorders.
Straightening your smile can get rid of this pressure and relieve TMJ symptoms. Ask your dentist about Invisalign. This cosmetic dental treatment uses clear, plastic aligners worn 22 hours or more a day for several months. They will gradually shift teeth into alignment so that your bite can close as it should without generating excess pressures.
Irregularly Shaped Teeth
When the positioning of your teeth is not straight, you can be at risk of TMJ. This occurs when the shape of your teeth is irregular as well. Over time, your teeth may change shape due to bruxism, impact trauma, or other wear and tear.
If your teeth have a chip, crack, or another kind of breakage, this could impact the way that your bite closes. It may mean that you have increased difficulty performing oral functions which can lead to TMJ.
Your dentist can offer restorative dental treatments to reshape these teeth. A dental crown can cover a damaged tooth, enhancing both its appearance and its structure.
This will bring relief to patients experiencing TMJ symptoms stemming from this issue. Minor cases of tooth breakage could be fixed with cosmetic dental solutions like teeth bonding. A dentist can evaluate your dental damage and find the best treatment to restore your smile.