Your smile’s appearance is an important aspect of your dental health, as are the health of your teeth and the integrity of your gum tissues. However, the way your bite functions is also a vital part of your oral health, and patients who experience TMJ disorder often experience difficulty opening and closing their mouths. Because of the complexity of your jaw’s joints, muscles, and nerves, TMJ disorder can also result in a number of other chronic symptoms, including headaches, migraines, jaw and facial pain, and more.
Your Temporomandibular Joints
TMJs, or temporomandibular joints, are two large joints that connect your lower jaw (mandible) and upper jaw (maxilla). They’re the most-used joints in your entire body, and they rely on proper balance to operate smoothly. When one or both joints are inflamed, injured, or out of alignment, the condition (known as TMJ disorder) can cause increasingly worse discomfort and difficulty with bite function.
Your Trigeminal Nerves
Of your 12 cranial nerve groups, your trigeminal nerves are the largest. In addition to controlling your jaw’s movement, the nerves are also responsible for the majority of sensory input throughout your head, neck, face, shoulders, and upper back. When TMJ disorder is present, the injury to your jaw joints can cause distress to the nearby trigeminal nerves, and the pain can spread all along the nerves’ pathways.
Finding Relief from TMJ Disorder
There are several factors that can contribute to TMJ disorder. For instance, excessive stress (which leads to prolonged muscle tension), an imbalance in your tooth alignment, and tooth wear that throws your bite off balance are common contributors. There are also several different symptoms that could indicate TMJ disorder, but that also overlap with symptoms of other conditions, making diagnosis sometimes difficult.
After a thorough examination, your dentist can help you determine if your chronic symptoms are TMJ-related and suggest an appropriate treatment plan. Depending on your specific needs, you may be able to find relief with a custom-made oral appliance designed to alleviate stress on your jaw.
If you suffer from chronic jaw pain, headaches, a popping or clicking jaw, or other related symptoms, then ask your dentist if TMJ disorder is to blame. Schedule a visit today by calling Syosset Dental in Syosset, NY today at 516-433-2211 or 516-921-6930.