So You've Been Diagnosed with TMJ Disorder. What Happens if it Goes Untreated?

When the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) -- the spot where your jaw connects to your skull -- begins to experience complications like a popping sound or shooting pain when opened or closed then individuals should seek help. The temporomandibular joint is an important part of the jawbone that attaches to the skull in order for the lower jaw to open, close, and move side to side. When it is damaged or crippled with arthritis, it can result in a painful condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). This disorder can cause severe discomfort, making patients seek help and treatment options to alleviate the pain.

Women and men in New York City who are dealing with TMJ symptoms turn to the dental experts at SmilesNY Cosmetic & Implant Dental for help. The temporomandibular joint plays an important role, allowing people to chew, talk, laugh, and do other daily functions. So, when it is causing severe pain for individuals, it can be a debilitating disorder. Treating your TMJ condition is imperative in order to get relief. Here is why you should get help before your TMD gets worse.

What exactly is TMD?

Does your jaw lock up at inconvenient times? Does your jaw pop or click when you eat? Does your face hurt when you wake up? TMD is a common condition and can develop due to anxiety or stress causing an individual to clench or grind their teeth. TMD can also occur due to the development of arthritis in the joint or damage due to an accident or injury. Even poor posture or excessive gum chewing can put a strain on the jaw muscles causing an onset of TMD.

Why is treatment necessary?

Your temporomandibular joints have an important job. They connect the lower jaw to the skull and act as a hinge so the mouth can retract, protrude, as well open and close. It is an intricate working of tendons, ligaments and an articular disc that acts like a cushion. When it is working correctly that cushion is a buffer between your facial bones so they don’t rub together. If a clicking sound begins to occur that is the first alarm that something is not right with your jaw or temporomandibular joint and your current symptoms will only get worse over time.

What happens if a TMJ disorder is not treated?

Life with a TMJ disorder can be very uncomfortable and at times unpleasant. The temporomandibular joint does several jobs throughout the day and when it is injured or damaged it can affect other areas. Issues include:

  • Problems sleeping

  • Severe joint inflammation

  • Secondary pain in the neck or face

  • Ears can feel full or being ringing

  • Clenching teeth due to pain can further wear down teeth

  • Chronic headaches

  • Painful discomfort when eating or talking

  • Mood swings

Patients in the New York City area who have been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder should seek treatment options in order to alleviate their current symptoms from getting worse.

TMJ treatment options

The first step is getting properly diagnosed by a dental professional like the ones at SmilesNY to ensure you have TMD. There are several different treatment options for TMJ disorder from oral appliances to be worn that alleviate teeth grinding to physical therapy. Even trigger point injections to numb nerve endings or BOTOX to relax certain muscles have been known to reduce TMJ pain.

The experts at SmilesNY offer innovative treatments like TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) to massage joint muscles with electrical impulses in order to relax jaw muscles. Their state-of-the-art facility also offers Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) therapy that analyzes a patient’s bite through a series of high tech x-rays and pictures to detect any strain to temporomandibular joint which could be causing TMJ pain. A simple adjustment to a patient’s bite to make it more symmetrical could be the answer to getting relief.

Early treatment is key

Individuals diagnosed with TMD will not only relieve their TMJ pain and symptoms with proper treatment but will also keep the condition from getting worse. Utilizing a mixture of treatment options under the guidance of a dental expert who is educated in the specifics of TMD will ensure you get relief and improve your quality of life. Most patients see a noticeable difference in their TMJ condition within a few weeks of starting treatments. While a minor popping sound in your jaw may seem like a small nuisance, if left untreated, it can result in severe pain and discomfort down the road.

If you are concerned you have a TMJ issue or have been diagnosed with TMD and need treatment options, then we encourage you to contact the dental experts at SmilesNY Cosmetic & Implant Dental in New York City today. Let our experienced dentists and professional staff help you find relief from your TMJ pain so you can feel good again.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.