The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may sound like an obscure, hidden part of your body, but it’s much more important than most people realize. It allows you to open and close your mouth, chew your food, and speak, making it a vital part of everyday life. However, certain issues such as injury, misaligned teeth, or even arthritis can hamper the joint and prevent it from working as it should. This condition is known as TMJ disorder, and it can severely affect your quality of life.
However, knowledge is power. Separating fact from fiction about the many common myths of TMJ disorder can help you understand the condition better. Here are four myths about TMJ disorder and the truth behind them:
TMJ Disorder is Uncommon
Although TMJ disorder does not frequently appear in discussions, that doesn’t indicate its prevalence. TMJ disorder is a common condition, affecting 5 to 12 percent of the population. Unfortunately, since many people have not heard of TMJ disorder, they experience painful symptoms without knowing what it is, preventing them from getting the treatment they need. It’s important to note that you must see an emergency dentist right away for treatment any time you experience any kind of pain in your mouth.
Jaw Popping is the Main Symptom
TMJ disorder has many different symptoms, and the most well-known one is popping in the jaw joint, mainly when opening and closing the mouth. As a result, many people believe they do not have TMJ disorder if they experience pain but no jaw popping. The condition causes many symptoms, such as soreness and tension in the jaw, which often reaches the whole mouth and head. A stiff jaw joint is also a common symptom of TMJ disorder, making it difficult to open your mouth completely. In other cases, some patients cannot open or close their mouths at all due to a locked jaw joint.
TMJ Disorder Isn’t Fixable
People believe that TMJ disorder is permanent, but fortunately, that isn’t the case. Working with a top-tier dentist will give you the treatment you need to treat your specific case of the condition. The kind of treatment you will receive highly depends on what caused your TMJ disorder. For instance, if it was caused by a misaligned bite, preventing your jaws from aligning properly, your dentist will prescribe orthodontic treatment such as braces. If you were injured and suffered severe damage to the joint, you might require surgery. If it occurred due to a stress or anxiety disorder, your dentist would suggest medication along with therapy to relax your muscles and treat the condition.
TMJ Disorder Isn’t a Serious Problem
Even though TMJ disorder is fixable, that doesn’t mean it is harmless. It isn’t a life-threatening condition, but leaving it untreated can negatively affect your quality of life while causing your oral health to deteriorate. TMJ disorder is painful not only on the jaw joint but the entire mouth and head, which means you’ll be dealing with a host of problems such as an increased risk of decay and tooth loss. You may even experience hearing problems like tinnitus since the joint is positioned right under the ears, causing balance issues, vertigo, and reducing your ability to perform everyday tasks.
TMJ disorder is a painful disorder that can be treated, and understanding the condition will help you seek the treatment you need. By knowing the truth behind these common myths, you can visit an emergency dentist and have yourself diagnosed right away.
If you find yourself in a dental emergency, be sure to visit us at 24/7 Emergency Dental Clinic! Our practice offers various dental solutions such as dental implants, teeth whitening, TMJ treatment, cleanings, and many more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!