Lately there’s been a slight pain in your jaw that won’t go away. Looking around the Internet, you think you might have a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder; you’ve also found out that your dentist offers TMJ therapy in Lakeway, but you’re not sure that paying for the treatment is worth it. It’s just a little pain, right? Surely you can just ignore it or let it go away on its own. Unfortunately, that choice could have more serious consequences than you think. Here are 4 long-term issues that can happen when you ignore a TMJ problem.
1. Chronic Pain in the Head, Neck and Shoulders
The TMJ is what lets you open and close your jaw. When there’s a problem with the joint, it puts excessive tension on the jaw muscles, leaving them sore and stiff. Eventually, the tension can spread to other parts of the body, leading to headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, and shoulder pain. The longer a TMJ disorder goes unaddressed, the further the tension will spread. It may seem bearable at first but living with the constant pain will start to take its toll.
2. Problems with Your Ears
The TMJ is located on either side of your head just in front of the ears. Because of this, issues with the joint can eventually cause earaches and other general pains. You might also hear a ringing sound, or you could even be at a higher risk of ear infection. In extreme cases, you could suffer from hearing problems or vertigo.
3. Permanent Damage to the Jaw
Because your jaw is involved in so many essential activities – eating, speaking, yawning and so on – TMJ disorders tend to only get worse over time. You could be at risk for a locked or dislocated jaw, or the cartilage in the TMJ could become permanently damaged. This can make your symptoms all the more aggravating.
4. A Decreased Quality of Life
Because of the continuous state of pain and discomfort brought about by the issues listed above, you might find yourself relying on pain medication more often, which can eventually have all kinds of negative effects on your health. You might also find it harder to fall asleep, or you might not be able to concentrate at work. Some studies have even found that living with chronic TMJ pain can contribute to anxiety and depression.
Obviously, the best way to avoid these issues is to have your TMJ disorder diagnosed and treated as soon as you can! Call your dentist in Lakeway if you’re experiencing pain or other symptoms that you think could be linked to a TMJ problem. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse when you can take the first step to make it better!
About the Practice
At Eaddy Dentistry in Lakeway, the father-and-son team of Dr. Winston Eaddy and Dr. Daniel Eaddy provides patients with the highest quality care possible. They’re experts on the function of orofacial structures such as the jaw and are experienced in using occlusal splint therapy to treat TMJ disorders. To schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (512) 263-4252.