Did you know that nearly 36 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of chronic jaw pain? We rely on our jaw joint to eat, speak and yawn. If these daily actions become painful, it is time to let a dentist evaluate you for TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.
It is easy to blame TMD on teething grinding or clenching (bruxism), and this is often the culprit. However, there are other conditions throughout the body that can contribute to painful jaw symptoms.
TMD involves the pain symptoms of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints as well as the jaw muscles and surrounding connective tissue. A complex range of conditions can contribute to jaw joint dysfunction, including genetic factors, gender (women of childbearing age suffer most), environment and behavior.
Recent research has also identified certain health problems in other parts of the body that are associated with TMD. In fact, a survey of approximately 1,500 TMD patients found that nearly two-thirds of them also suffered from three or more related health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, depression and sleeping issues. It is important to realize and understand the complex relationship that your jaw has with other overall health conditions. Research is still evolving on this connection.
In the meantime, you can still find relief from your jaw pain with an experienced dentist. Most patients respond to traditional and conservative TMJ treatment, which can include physical therapy, thermal (hot or cold) compresses, medication and a soft-foods diet. At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we recognize the wide range of causes for your jaw discomfort. You can trust that we will consider a diverse set of factors, as well as your overall health, when treating TMD. Call our Marietta office today to schedule your TMJ consult.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,