Are you doing all that you can to protect your oral health? Hopefully, you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once, which can help control dental plaque (a sticky substance created by masses of oral bacteria). Reducing plaque is essential to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but not all of the problems that can afflict your oral health originate with oral germs. Des Moines dentist, Dr. Stephen Burds, examines one of these issues, called TMJ disorder that attacks your mouth’s foundation and function.
What is TMJ Disorder?
While your teeth are essential to bite, chew, and speak properly, they wouldn’t be much use if you couldn’t move them. Your temporomandibular joints are the large joints that connect your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull and allow it to move. Known as TMJs for short, these joints rely on precise alignment to operate properly. Unfortunately, your jaw’s orientation can sometimes be compromised due to a number of factors, and your jaw’s joints and muscles are placed under additional stress as they work harder to keep your mouth straight. When TMJ disorder manifests itself, the discomfort can be felt in your jaws, mouth, face, head, ears, neck, and shoulders, among other areas. Though TMJ pain is chronic and can often be debilitating, the diversity of its symptoms frequently makes TMJ disorder difficult to diagnose.
The Damages of Unchecked TMJ Disorder
A dysfunction in the relationship between your mouth’s various components can cause a number of different dental issues to develop, one of which is habitual tooth grinding (bruxism). Consequently, bruxism is both a cause and effect of TMJ disorder; jaw malfunction can cause the involuntary muscle spasms and unconscious clenching, while the constant grinding can exacerbate the damage to your jaw’s joints. Bruxism can also cause excessive wear on your teeth, leading to the need for extensive dental work to restore cracked, broken, or otherwise compromised teeth.
Des Moines Dentist Can Help Treat Your TMJ Disorder
To learn more about TMJ disorder and its negative influence on your mouth’s proper function, schedule a consultation with your Des Moines dentist by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.