If you are suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD), you might be postponing treatment, even though that’s a bad idea.

Here are 10 benefits of TMJ treatment that might convince you it’s time to contact Aberdeen TMJ dentist Dr. Mandy Grimshaw at Kuhn Dental Associates.

young adult woman holding her jaw in pain

1. Reduce or Eliminate Jaw Pain

Jaw pain is one of the most common TMJ symptoms. TMJ can actually cause lots of different types of jaw pain, including joint pain and nerve pains. However, the most common type of TMJ pain is muscle pain, a dull throbbing ache. This pain might manifest any time you work your jaw, including clenching and grinding because of stress.

Whether you have one type of jaw pain or several, TMJ treatment can reduce them or even eliminate them entirely.

2. Avoid Headaches

Another common TMJ symptom is a headache. TMJ is linked to several types of headaches, including tension headaches and migraines. Doctors, who don’t have training in TMJ treatment, often overlook this as a potential cause.

If you get regular headaches and your current treatments aren’t helping, it might be time to consider whether TMJ treatment can help.

3. Take Less Medication

Pain medication can be an effective way to deal with acute pain. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications are an especially easy way to overcome pain and minimize its impact on your daily life. However, the use of pain medication on a regular basis can have negative consequences. Even OTC pain medication can have serious long-term complications if you use it too frequently.

Some prescription medications have even more serious complications. Pain medications can be addicting, and they may lose potency against your pain with frequent use. In addition, you might develop medication overuse headaches (also called rebound headaches).

Drug-free TMJ treatment gives you relief without medications.

4. Protect Your Teeth (and Restorations)

TMJ doesn’t just cause pain; it can lead to damage, even destruction of your teeth. An unbalanced bite, clenching and grinding, irregular bite motion, and other effects can damage your teeth. You will grind them away, chip them, crack them, and cause other damage. As your teeth break, you might get restorations like dental crowns to repair them. However, if you don’t treat TMJ, these restorations might also suffer and break prematurely.

TMJ treatment helps you avoid future damage to your teeth and lets your restorations give you their full effective life.

5. Enjoy a More Balanced Appearance

The effects of TMJ can become visible in your facial appearance. For many people, the most noticeable initial effect is an overgrowth of muscles on one side of their face. This is because the imbalance in your bite is causing one side of your mouth to work much harder than the other.

Over time, this imbalance can wear down the teeth on one side of the face. This can lead to a visible slant in your jaw.

Correcting TMJ puts your jaw in balance. This will allow your jaw muscles to develop evenly. Tooth damage might require restorative dentistry to achieve balance.

6. Sleep Better

Sleep is crucial to feeling good and staying healthy. Unfortunately, TMJ can disrupt your sleep in many ways. Most often, TMJ-related pain makes it hard to sleep. With pain in your jaw, head, neck, and shoulders, it can be hard to find a good position for sleep.

You might also find that grinding your teeth can make it hard to sleep. You might disrupt your sleep or that of your bed partner–who then wakes you up.

Finally, it’s important to know that many people with TMJ also have sleep apnea. If you have TMJ symptoms and also feel you aren’t getting good sleep at night, we recommend a sleep test.

7. More Foods to Enjoy and More Enjoyment of Foods

TMJ makes it hard to enjoy food. First, it can limit the foods you can eat. When you can’t open your mouth wide enough, you might have to give up Aberdeen favorites like hamburgers, sandwiches, corn on the cob, and apples.

Chewing hard foods like steak or popcorn might be too difficult and cause such pain that you give them up.

TMJ treatment will let you open wide again and eliminate the pain of chewing, so you’re free to enjoy all the foods you used to love.

8. Avoid Digestive Problems

In addition to pain, TMJ can reduce your chewing efficiency. This means that you are more likely to swallow poorly chewed foods and might experience digestive problems. Impacted food, for example, can be an immediate acute emergency, and it will likely recur.

By improving your chewing ability, TMJ treatment can make it easier to eat in a healthy way without complications.

9. Have a Better Mood

Many people who experience chronic pain conditions experience depression. Whether clinically diagnosed or simply suspected, people with TMJ often experience a chronic low mood. This is no surprise: poor sleep, frequent pain, and lacking the ability to enjoy a good meal; it’s no wonder that people with TMJ are often unhappy.

Fortunately, TMJ treatment can eliminate the causes of low mood linked to jaw dysfunction. This helps our patients in Aberdeen feel better about life generally.

10. Potentially Head Off Other Chronic Pain Conditions

Speaking of chronic pain, people with TMJ can sometimes develop what is known as chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPC). In fact, as much as 75% of people with TMJ might develop other pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS/IBD), endometriosis, vulvodynia, lower back pain, migraines, and more.

We’re not entirely sure why this is, but one of the most likely mechanisms is central sensitization. This means that the longer your body experiences pain, the more sensitive it becomes to pain. Then it starts to interpret non-pain sensations as pain, creating pain in other parts of the body.

Getting TMJ treatment early can head off sensitization.

TMJ Treatment in Aberdeen

If you are experiencing TMJ symptoms in Aberdeen or surrounding areas, don’t put off treatment any longer. Instead, let TMJ dentist, Dr. Mandy Grimshaw, at Kuhn Dental Associates help.

Please call (910) 692-4450 or use our online form to request an appointment at Kuhn Dental Associates, located on Sandhills Blvd, less than 10 minutes from the Southern Pines Golf Club.