How Does TMJ Affect Your Life?
Do you have TMJ disorder and it is affecting your life? Call our team of professionals today at Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria/Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX and Wausau WI.
Table of Content:
The jaw is a complex joint that allows us to chew, speak, sing, and any other function that involves opening the mouth. People with good jaw health, often do not realize all of the functions that the jaw enables, but for others, they have a painful reminder every time they open or close their jaw due to dysfunction with this joint. When the jaw causes problems, it may be a symptom of dysfunction with the TMJ, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder.
If TMJ issues are left untreated, they can develop into more serious problems, including:
– Frequent occurrence of unrelated medical conditions — While it may not seem evident at first, TMJ disorders could result in resorting to bad habits in order to cope with the pain. For example, some people might change the way or amount they eat to deter TMJ flare-ups, which could result in a nutritional deficiency; others may resort to drugs or alcohol to numb TMJ pain, which can develop into an addiction or dependency.
– Insomnia and sleep disturbances — Although TMJ is not considered a life-threatening condition, the discomfort of the teeth and jaw muscles is enough to disturb one’s sleeping pattern.
– Jaw complications and tinnitus — Untreated TMJ can lead to dental complications, such as chipped or cracked teeth. Furthermore, if TMJ disorders are left untreated, it could lead to tinnitus, which can permanently compromise hearing abilities.
It is important to treat TMJ disorders. The most significant reasons include:
– Protection of ear health
– Improvement in eating habits
– Protection of the teeth and jaw
– Alleviation of chronic pain
– Improvement in overall health
A TMJ disorder that is left untreated can lead to a number of serious problems, including:
– Weak facial muscles
– Swelling of the face
– Neck, shoulder, and back pain
– Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Yes, TMJ disorders can affect the brain. By placing strain on the jaw muscles, this causes the muscles in the neck and shoulders to become tight and fatigued. When the jaw or surrounding areas are out of balance, the brain becomes highly involved in trying to maintain equilibrium. While the muscles fight to keep the jaw balanced, the nerves around the joint send and receive inaccurate messages about jaw position, locations of pain, and levels of pain. These inaccurate signals come at a cognitive cost; studies showed that those who suffer from TMJ disorder performed worse on various cognitive function tasks than those who did not. This makes it more difficult to focus and causes people with TMJ disorder to be slower at planning, problem-solving, and execution. There are fewer resources available for the brain to devote to other tasks when pain is constant and creates distractions.
The temporomandibular joints are located behind a major facial nerve, the trigeminal nerve, that connects throughout the face, head, and neck. When either one of the TMJs is out of alignment, pain can spread from the jaw to the mouth, cheeks, neck, throat, forehead, eyes, ears, tongue, and teeth.
TMJ disorders can affect several different facial muscles, nerves, and joints, including:
– The joint that connects teeth to the jaw
– The muscles that move the jaw
– The muscle that tenses the eardrum
– The muscle that regulates the Eustachian tubes
– The lining of the sinuses
At Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders, we understand the many negative effects that TMJ disorders can have on your life, and we are here to help! We serve patients from all across the United States.