If you’re among the estimated 10 million Americans suffering from temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJDs), you probably accept that you’re going to live with some degree of facial pain every day. And chances are, COVID-19 is impacting your life, increasing your stress levels, and worsening the symptoms you experience.
But TMJDs are just a literal pain-in-the-neck and don’t cause permanent damage, right?
While we often discuss the common symptoms, causes, and treatments of these conditions, we don’t consider the long-term consequences of leaving them untreated. Read on to learn why you need to address your symptoms, and where to turn for help!
Long-Term TMJD Problems
The most obvious impact of TMJDs is a spectrum of discomfort from a dull ache in the jaw muscles to severe facial pain and tension headaches.
However, when TMJDs are ignored for months or years, the following health issues can arise:
- Physical and mechanical changes to the jaw bone that cause chips to break off and float within the jaw joint. This is not only extremely painful, but can increase swelling of the soft tissues within the joint.
- Inflammation of the temporomandibular joint creates a negative feedback-loop. This means your TMJD symptoms may begin without any joint inflammation, but uncomfortable swelling becomes both a cause and a result of the process. Eventually, this can evolve into arthritis of the jaw.
- Constant grinding can lead to recessed gums, which may require surgery.
- Chronic musculoskeletal disability and discomfort: TMJDs are considered second to lower back pain in severity and effect up to 12% of the population.
- Bruxism, or teeth-grinding, can cause major problems for your pearly-whites! Damaged enamel can crack and increase the chances for infection, decay, and breakage of the teeth. Also, teeth may wear down over years of continued grinding.
Even though TMJDs can create life-long challenges, you don’t have to worry because the friendly and knowledgeable team from Exquisite Smiles can help! Our expertise and holistic approach can help you determine ways to achieve optimum dental health, reduce your chronic pain, and smile like you mean it!
Dr. Phelan and his staff are available to guide you through the process from any of their locations in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts: Cumberland and Lincoln, RI; and South Attleboro, Attleboro, and Seekonk, MA.
You have a lot of things to stress about, but don’t let your TMJD symptoms be one of them! Please contact us to schedule your consultation today!