The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is a complex joint that undergoes a lot of motion, pressure and force everyday. When this joint is experiencing pain, not only is it noticeable, it can detract from day-to-day life. While TMJ pain can go away on its own, it can be cause for concern, especially when it interferes with quality of sleep. This is why it is vital to have TMJ pain evaluated by a medical professional, such as a dentist, right away.
What kind of doctor treats TMJ pain?
The most qualified doctor to treat TMJ pain is a dentist. They are experts of the anatomy of the jaw and can diagnose, treat and help prevent a number of causes of TMJ pain. If you are experiencing TMJ pain, trust the professionals at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders to help.
What causes TMJ to flare up?
There are several things that can cause TMJ to flare up, with each one affecting every person differently. The most common causes of TMJ flare ups include:
- Stress, which can lead to jaw clenching or teeth grinding while asleep or awake
- Hormonal changes, such as those brought on by natural maturation, birth control or supplements
- Chewy and hard foods, which can strain and stress the TMJ. This includes foods such as:
- Dehydration, as this can deny the TMJ the lubrication it needs to function properly
- Poor posture, which can misalign the lower jaw forward and cause disruptions with the normal operation of the jaw muscles
- Weak neck muscles that can put an undue strain on the temporomandibular joint
- Certain medications that promote grinding and clenching
- Vitamin D deficiency, as this can cause muscle pain
What will happen if TMJ is not treated?
While TMJ pain is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to permanent damage and other complications. If TMJ pain is untreated, it can cause:
Increased Levels of Pain — Patients can experience varying levels of pain due to the stress and grinding of the jaw joint area. Without treatment, the pain can worsen, leading to debilitating levels that may require medical intervention.
Other Medical Conditions — Patients with untreated TMJ may experience excruciating neck or jaw pain, malnutrition, depression or even an eating disorder as a result of their pain.
Deterioration of Oral Health — TMJ can result in troubling oral health problems like tooth decay, gum disease or chipped, broken or damaged teeth.
Deterioration of Hearing — While rare, due to the close proximity of the grinding jaw joints and muscles to the ears, patients may experience difficulty hearing, known as tinnitus.
Permanently Damaged Jaw Joints — Ultimately, refusing to seek treatment for TMJ pain could lead to permanent lockjaw, or the inability to open or close the jaw. These cases occur under extreme circumstances and will require an emergency visit to force open the jaws.
Do You provide TMJ treatment Near Mishawaka, IN?
Yes, we do! Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders has a location in Mishawaka, IN, that serves patients in the surrounding area. Our office is open from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Thursday. We are accepting new patients!
If you or someone you love is experiencing pain associated with their TMJ, is it important to have it evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. The TMJ specialists at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders can help you determine what is causing your pain and develop a treatment plan that uniquely addresses your needs. Call us today to book an appointment. We look forward to serving you! We serve patients from Mishwaka, IN, Woodland IN, Jamestown IN, Granger, IN, Elkhar IN and Ardmore IN.