When it comes to staying happy and healthy, most people know that routine trips to the doctor are in order on a fairly regular basis. What’s less obvious is that trips to the dentist are just as important, as problems that relate to dental issues, such as TMJ disorders, can have a great impact on the rest of the body and a person’s overall quality of life.
Certain issues that may be overlooked by a physician will be immediately diagnosed and treated by a dentist, which is one less reason to stop putting off that next appointment.
One of the most common disorders that can be diagnosed and treated by spending more time in the dentist’s chair is TMJ Disorders. With almost 35 million people in the United States alone suffering from TMJ Disorders, and many more unaware that they have this disorder, it is a common cause for a number of health issues that may easily be attributed to other factors.
TMJ stands for Temporal Mandibular Joint, and typically refers to the disorder where a person’s jaw is out of alignment, or simply doesn’t function correctly.
For some people, this is a very minor inconvenience that may cause a feeling of tension on the sides of the jaw, or a sudden “pop” when it is least expected. However, for others, TMJ Disorders can be the cause of lifelong struggles with migraines, pinched nerves, sinus disorders, vertigo, and even lead to hearing loss. Occasionally, severe cases cause painful dislocation of the jaw, swelling, and bruising.
A person suffering from TMJ Disorders is easy to spot and diagnose, simply from a dentist observing the movement of the jawbone as the mouth opens and closes. Anyone who notices a cracking, popping, or odd sound accompanying movement of the mouth is typically suffering from at least a mild form of the disorder, and treatment is indicated.
For patients who believe their quality of life may be improved by TMJ therapy, there are solutions. While no two patients are the same, most treatments are simple and non-invasive. In some cases, orthodontic treatment can help put an end to symptoms, especially in younger patients.
Other solutions include night guards to keep the jaw in place, and stop issues with grinding of the teeth, a habit many TMJ Disorder sufferers exhibit.
Although TMJ Disorders are rarely eliminated from a patient’s life, the side effects can become increasingly less noticeable, and the sense of freedom can be remarkably improved.