TMJ Disorder: Will it get worse with stress?

TMJ Disorder: Will it get worse with stress?

 TMJ DubuqueIf you suffer with TMJ disorder, a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, you likely deal with facial pain, frequent headaches, and difficulty opening and closing your mouth on a day-to-day basis. This is because the TMJ is strained and overworked. A number of factors cause TMJ disorder and fortunately, our oral surgeon offers diagnosis and treatment for this common oral health condition.

What causes TMJ dysfunction?

TMJ issues and related symptoms can be caused by a number of existing oral health problems. For example, worn down teeth—especially the molars—strain and stress the temporomandibular joint, facial muscles, and ligaments. This is because the worn down teeth do not properly align when the mouth is closed. Another dental concern that affects the TMJ is a common habit called bruxism, which refers to the habitual act of grinding or clenching one’s teeth. This places unnecessary pressure on the TMJ and over time, can also wear down teeth prematurely and result in a misaligned bite.

Issues with the jawbones also contribute to TMJ problems. If one jawbone developed more than the other did or if a patient has experienced bone loss in the jaw, they may also experience TMJ dysfunction.

How does stress affect the TMJ?

Stress certainly exacerbates TMJ disorder. This is because patients under duress are more likely to clench or grind their teeth and over time, this act will become a habit. In addition to the strain teeth grinding places on the TMJ, it also wears down teeth, which further compounds the problem.

How is TMJ disorder treated?

Treatment methods for TMJ disorder vary on the needs of the patient. Some patients benefit from restorative dental procedures such as the placement of crowns to build up the bite. If your dentist has referred you to an oral surgeon, you will likely require more complex treatment. An oral surgeon is a dentist with extra education and training to treat conditions that affect the oral and facial region.

To schedule a TMJ disorder treatment consultation, call our practice at 563-557-1440 today.