According to the World Health Organization, there was a 25% increase in anxiety and depression levels across the globe as a result of the pandemic. Even worse, anxiety isn’t just a mental health issue. It can also cause physical symptoms like jaw tension and teeth grinding.
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, happens when jaw joints undergo excessive strain and pressure as a result of repeated clenching and grinding of the jaw. For many, the root cause is anxiety. For others, it’s a result of trauma or other medical conditions. Learn more about TMJ, the symptoms, common treatment options, and how our dental office can help you below.
Are You Suffering from TMJ?
Most people assume that such a serious condition that causes so much pain would be obvious. Since most people grind their teeth in their sleep, however, you might not realize that you have had an issue for years until you start to add up all the pieces. TMJ’s symptoms often include:
- Grinding your teeth at night
- Waking up with jaw pain or pain in your neck, shoulder, or face
- Constant headaches
- Involuntary jaw clenching during the day
- Speech problems
- Ringing in the ears
- Significant anxiety and stress
- Dental problems like worn down teeth, cavities, and chips in the tooth
What Happens if You Don’t Treat TMJ Symptoms?
If you don’t treat your symptoms, then they’ll only continue to impact you. What’s more, your situation could get worse. Some TMJ sufferers do not experience lockjaw, but those that do report experiencing severe and debilitating pain.
How to Cope With and Treat TMJ
There are several different ways you can cope with and treat TMJ. Since there are so many causes, there are also many treatment options. If one treatment method doesn’t work for you, then don’t give up. Try another method. Here are some of the most common ways to find relief:
- Night guards to prevent grinding
- Treating anxiety with therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes
- Using relaxation and stress management techniques
- Physical therapy
Getting a night guard is one of the most common solutions, but it’s important to speak with a dentist before you do so. Since grinding your teeth can cause dental issues, it might make sense to ensure your teeth are in good health and strong enough to use one before you go out and try these treatments on your own.
Temple Family Dentistry Can Help You Navigate TMJ
Suffering from TMJ is much more than a physical concern. Not only will your teeth grinding wear down your teeth, but it can also take a significant toll on your mental health. Not being able to eat, experiencing speech issues, and even dealing with a popping jaw can feel or be debilitating.
The good news is that our staff here at Temple Family Dentistry understand the struggles you’re going through with TMJ. Our office can help discuss your concerns and work with you to get fitted for a night guard to protect your teeth. We are also here to provide referrals and are happy to help you address any dental concerns that go beyond our expertise. Request an initial appointment by using our online form now. We look forward to hearing from you.