The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that between 5% and 12% of patients suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ disorder) and its painful symptoms. Every November is National TMJ Awareness Month to encourage sufferers to understand this common joint dysfunction and learn ways to obtain relief from irritating symptoms safely.
TMJ Disorder Overview
If you have patients that complain about TMJ disorder, they may experience these common TMJ symptoms: experience throbbing tension headaches, popping sounds when chewing, difficulty chewing, tooth pain from teeth grinding, and limited jaw movement. They may also self-medicate with over-the-counter pain medication, muscle relaxants, drugs, or alcohol.
For TMJ treatment, some doctors inject BOTOX® into the joint to paralyze it, while others prescribe mouthguards if bruxism is the source of TMD.
Unfortunately, these methods only temporarily soothe the pain but do not fix the underlying condition. One of the most effective ways to reverse TMJ disorder symptoms is to realign the jaw and teeth into a more desirable and comfortable position.
It’s time to spread TMJ awareness! In this blog, we help you explain to your patients how orthodontic treatment can help alleviate the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder.
Understanding Malocclusion and Misalignment
Many patients turn to braces, clear aligners, and other orthodontic treatments in hopes of a straighter smile as their primary focus. In addition to a more aesthetically pleasing grin, doctors carefully apply orthodontic devices to adjust a misaligned bite with gentle force.
Instead of accepting the patient’s bite, dentists and orthodontists can determine the optimal alignment for each patient’s one-of-a-kind jaw joints, supporting jaw muscles, and teeth and gently move them there.
Even though TMJ pain affects the joint that connects the upper and lower jaw, dentists and orthodontists must acknowledge and inspect the relationships surrounding this joint.
Understanding the balanced relationship between the joints, muscles, ligaments, bite, and upper quadrant structures is essential to draft a treatment plan for patients experiencing TMJ pain. Understanding the link between all of the structures in the jaw and mouth helps align the bite so that doctors can offer treatment that reduces pressure on the TMJ.
TMJ disorders are more than a click or soreness in the jaw joint. When the jaw is misaligned, it generates a domino effect throughout the entire body. If left untreated, an imbalanced TMJ can lead to long-term negative consequences and result in discomfort and malfunction in the following:
- Mouth: Soreness, limited mobility, or locks open or shut
- Jaw: locking, clicking, popping, deviation, or muscle spasms
- Teeth: Eroded, loose, or sore teeth
- Head: Migraines, sinus headaches, or recurring headaches
- Throat: Swallowing difficulties, laryngitis, frequent coughing, sore throat, or voice irregularities
- Ears: Tinnitus, decreased hearing, earaches without infection, vertigo, dizziness, or clogged or itching ears
- Neck: Stiffness, pain, or soreness
- Shoulders and back: aches and pain
- Extremities: Numbness, “pins and needles” feeling, or discomfort
Over half of the patients diagnosed with sleep apnea also suffer from TMJ disorder. Sleep apnea and TMJ are conditions that can emerge simultaneously but can also intensify one another. Properly treating either health condition entails learning the link between the two.
Become an Orthosnap Partner Today
Orthosnap provides everything patients and doctors need for a seamless experience for both parties. Our services include:
- Comprehensive consultations with our representatives
- 24/7 customer service
- Training and product updates
- Online portal for case tracking
- Customized plans with objectives set by the practice
- Marketing support
- Custom packaging
- Educational materials for doctors and patients
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to expand your dental practice. Contact our team today at (516) 506-7606 to learn more.