Elmhurst TMJ Dentist Explains How This Disorder Can Affect Long-Term Oral Health

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on Oct 17, 2017

Most people already know that certain things, like sugary foods and drinks, can harm their smiles. However, there are other, lesser talked about threats to your oral health, such as TMJ dysfunction.

Your temporomandibular joints are the joints that attach your lower jaw to your skull. Thanks to temporomandibular joints you can speak, chew, yawn, and emote comfortably.

The problem is that sometimes TMJs become irritated, damaged, or inflamed. When this happens, you’ll may notice a number of immediate problems and inconveniences, and your smile is more at risk of developing additional damage down the road.

Many TMJ sufferers find that their temporomandibular joints feel sore, and that their jaws pop or click when they chew. TMJ-related pain can also radiate up the face and head, so that it ends up feeling more like an earache or headache than jaw pain. If you notice any of these symptoms in your life, our Elmhurst dentists encourage you to reach out to your dentist right away for a TMJ assessment.

When TMJ problems go unaddressed, your entire smile can start to suffer as a result. Many people subconsciously change the way that they bite and chew in order to favor sore temporomandibular joints. Over time, this can cause your teeth to wear down prematurely and unevenly.

TMJ disorder often develops concurrently with bruxism, or chronic dental grinding. Bruxism can be both a cause and a result of TMJ disorder. Patients who regularly grind and clench their teeth tend to suffer from tension headaches and face/neck pain. Bruxism also creates small cracks and chips in the dental enamel, thus leaving the patient’s teeth susceptible to developing further damage as well as cavities.

There are effective and patient-friendly treatments available to deal with TMJ problems. Our Elmhurst TMJ dentists are here to give you any additional information and guidance that you may need. Give us a call to get started!