Is TMJ Serious? The Health Risks of Untreated TMJ Disorder

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What Is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ is the common name for the temporomandibular joint. You can think of it like a hinge that slides and allows your jaw to move in a range of motions. This makes it essential for you to perform daily activities talking, eating, and drinking. But for a variety of reasons, the joint can become damaged.

Everyone has two temporomandibular joints, with one on either side of the jaw. TMJ disorders are just one category of temporomandibular disorders, also called TMD. They may result in pain around this joint as well as the group of muscles that are in charge of your jaw’s movements.

The majority of TMJ cases resolve themselves over time with the help of self-managed care and treatments that don’t require surgery. It’s usually only once all else fails that surgery is considered. Still, in some cases, surgical treatment or Santa Cruz sleep apnea treatment may yield positive results for mild cases of TMJ disorder.

When Should You See a Doctor?

People are usually able to tell if they need attention from a doctor by the way their symptoms present themselves. Professional attention may be needed for a jaw that is persistently painful or tender. This is also the case if you lose the ability to fully open or close your jaw. At our Bay Area sleep apnea solutions practices, we’ll work with you to find the root of the issue and find the best way to treat it. Call us now.

Each TMJ includes a disk that absorbs the shock from these movements. These disks are situated between the bones to help keep them separated. The segments of the jawbone that come into contact with the joints have a layer of cartilage. Under normal circumstances, this cartilage prevents damage and facilitates fluid motion.

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But TMJ disorder may occur if one or both of these disks move out of alignment. They may also erode over time due to natural wear and tear. Arthritis in its various forms may also cause damage to the cartilage in the joints. But there are myriad TMJ disorders with origins that can’t be so clearly defined.

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There are several factors that make TMJ disorder more likely and exacerbate the severity when it does occur. People who habitually clench their jaw or grind their teeth have a greater risk of having TMJ problems. This tends to be common at night and in those with high levels of anxiety.