Besides protecting the health of your gums and the integrity of your natural tooth structure, general dental care also focuses heavily on ensuring your bite functions properly. This requires the combined efforts of your jaw’s nerve, muscle, and joints, and when one of these factors is compromised, the resulting discomfort can make biting and chewing difficult or impossible. Collectively known as TMJ disorders, such conditions can also result in a host of chronic aches and pains that grow progressively worse until your jaw dysfunction is treated.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name of the two joints that connect your lower jaw to the rest of your skull. Conditions that are considered TMJ disorders are those that affect one or both of these joints, and therefore, affect your jaw’s ability to open, close, and move smoothly. This can include wear and damage to the joint’s tissue, inflammation, or misalignment, and the causes for TMJ disorders can be just as varied.
Common TMJ Disorder Symptoms
The fact that your jaw joints operate together means that misaligned TMJs can often result in difficulties with jaw movement. However, the fact that your TMJs are located so closely to your trigeminal nerve, which is one your body’s most dominant nerve group, means that TMJ disorder also produces a wide range of other symptoms, such as:
- Popping and clicking jaw joints
- Sore, aching jaw and facial muscles
- Spasms in your jaw muscles
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Frequent teeth-grinding (bruxism)
- And more
Learn More About the Signs of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can sometimes be difficult to detect, but if you know what signs to look for, then you can seek treatment before your condition grows worse. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Burds by calling Gateway Dental Group in downtown Des Moines, IA, at (515) 244-9565.