Everyone has a temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ. The TMJ is the jaw hinge that allows your mouth to comfortably open and close. Yet it does not always work properly, in which case TMJ treatment under the supervision of a dentist may be advisable.
Individuals who contact Dr. Abbey Lee at Smiles 4 Grant Park in Atlanta, GA, to discuss their potential TMJ disorder (TMD) seek relief from their condition. They usually also want to address several related health concerns that may be linked to this problem.
TMD can make eating foods, especially crunchy ones, difficult. Unfortunately, many crunchier, harder foods offer high nutritional value. For instance, raw fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, are packed with vitamins and fiber. They also require quite a bit of chewing.
Patients with TMD who avoid eating a variety of ingredients due to the discomfort related to a sticking, clicking, pain-inducing jaw hinge, are at risk of limited nutritional intake. This can snowball into anything from unwanted weight gain to lower-than-desired calcium levels.
Without TMJ treatment to curb the discomfort of TMD, a patient may have trouble falling or staying asleep. Why? During sleep, patients may move their jaws around to find a more comfortable position, possibly grinding their teeth in the process.
Many individuals diagnosed with TMD report strong jaw pain and tenderness in the morning. Not only does this make mornings unpleasant, but it can interrupt their overall quality of sleep. Over time, this may lead to sleep disturbances and sleep deprivation. Even losing just an hour of sleep per night can add up to a constant feeling of grogginess or difficulty focusing on tasks.
Chronic pain is problematic because it just never goes away. One of the more notable signs of TMD is swelling in the jaw, which leads to nagging, consistent pain. Even if the pain is rarely high on a scale of 1-10, it can still interfere with a patient being able to feel comfortable.
Eventually, chronic pain can have an emotional effect on any patient with untreated TMD. For instance, he or she may find it difficult to enjoy social social situations. Down the road, patients with TMD may experience personality changes due to their relentless jaw pain.
If an individual with TMD tooth-grinds in the middle of the night, the tops of the molars are at risk of being worn down. As the protective enamel wears away, cracks can develop in the teeth. Many dentists identify potential TMD in patients after they observe this phenomenon, often paired with cavities.
Tooth decay on the tops of the molars may cause few or no symptoms in its earliest stages. Therefore, patients with TMD who do not visit a dentist every six months may not realize they have cavities until the cavities are severe.
The upside to all these TMD-related health concerns is that all of them can be addressed by proper TMJ treatment. Start a conversation about TMJ treatment today by contacting Dr. Lee’s office at (404) 328-7177. Why allow TMD to steal your wellness or slow down your dreams of living your best possible life?