Temporomandibular joint disorders (called TMJ or TMD) are common. Nearly a third of all adults experience them at some time. While most cases of TMJ resolve on their own without professional treatment, if your TMJ is persistent or recurring, you should seek treatment. Here are five great reasons why you shouldn’t wait to get TMJ treatment.
Untreated TMJ Can Worsen
TMJ is a progressive condition. This means that it will get worse over time, and as it gets worse, your treatment options narrow.
Early TMJ symptoms might seem like a nuisance. You might have a popping jaw and irregular jaw motion. Perhaps your jaw muscles hurt occasionally. You might hear odd sounds when you chew, talk, or just move your jaw. Later, your jaw joint might grind. Your jaw might even lock open or closed, which can be a very alarming situation. Jaw pain gets more intense and more constant. Ringing in your ears can get louder and more disruptive.
When detected and treated early, we can use noninvasive methods to slow, stop, or even reverse the condition. This treatment can be very successful, and it’s easy to do. However, the longer TMJ goes untreated, the more damage it might do to the jaw joint. Eventually, surgery might be the best treatment option. TMJ surgery is unreliable, can be very painful, and may require extensive downtime.
Save Your Teeth from Trauma and Wear
TMJ doesn’t just damage your jaw. It can put excessive pressure on your teeth. This can be in the form of clenching and grinding or in an unbalanced bite that comes down harder on one side of your mouth than the other.
No matter what form it takes, this excessive pressure can lead to chipped, cracked, and badly worn teeth. This means that after we treat TMJ, we will have to deal with the damage to your teeth. This might require cosmetic dentistry treatments like porcelain veneers for wear and chips. Cracked teeth might benefit from dental crowns, sometimes after root canal therapy. In some cases, these badly cracked or worn teeth cannot be saved. We will have to extract them and replace them with a dental implant or denture.