If you struggle with jaw pain, headaches, jaw stiffness or any other symptoms of TMJ Disorder (TMD), it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Not only will your symptoms worsen and cause significant discomfort, untreated TMD can have serious consequences for your dental, physical, and emotional health. Dr. George Georgaklis offers effective treatment for TMJ at his San Diego office. Although he may combine several treatments depending on your symptoms, custom-made oral splints are the foundation of his care. Take steps to protect your oral and physical health by scheduling a La Jolla TMJ evaluation as soon as possible.
What Is TMD?
TMD is a common disorder that affects the temporomandibular joints, the two joints on either side of your jaw. These joints are very complex. Since they allow your jaw to move up and down, as well as side to side, they are surrounded by a complex system of muscles and ligaments. In addition, the TMJ’s come under constant pressure. You use these joints every time you eat, speak, yawn, and make hundreds of unconscious motions. If you suffer from bruxism (chronic teeth grinding), the joints may sustain even more wear and tear. In many cases, TMJ Disorder is the result of physical damage to the joints. For example, the soft cushioning discs may out of place. It can also result from inflammation in the nearby muscles and ligaments.
The Importance of Treating TMJ Disorder in San Diego
TMD can cause a number of mild to severe side effects. Jaw pain, popping in the jaw, headaches, and jaw stiffness are among the most common symptoms. If you do not seek La Jolla TMJ treatment, these side effects will worsen. However, without treatment, you could also develop a number of permanent and even life-altering health concerns.
- Bruxism and dental erosion: There is an interesting cyclical relationship between bruxism and TMD. Bruxism can cause TMD. However, TMD can also lead to chronic jaw clinching, which is often an unconscious response to pain. As bruxism worsens, you may experience wear and tear on your teeth, including erosion and small cracks.
- Malnutrition: As jaw pain becomes worse, you may start to avoid certain foods, choosing liquids or soft items instead. Not only will this limit your diet; in severe cases, you could suffer from malnutrition or develop an eating disorder.
- Addiction: Often, patients who do not seek treatment will try to self-medicate with pain pills. As these patients become immune to the effects of medications, they may start to up their dosage, developing a dangerous addiction. In other cases, patients may become alcohol dependent.
- Hearing loss: Because your jaw joints are located right below your ears, inflammation in this area can damage the auditory nerves. You may suffer from chronic tinnitus or even significant hearing loss. Fortunately, our TMJ treatment in San Diego can usually reverse this damage.
- Permanent jaw damage: Without proper care, most of your cartilage could wear away, and the jawbone may even begin to erode. Not only will this cause painful grinding and friction; it could also lead to an increased risk for jaw dislocation.
- A changed appearance: In very severe causes of untreated TMD, the bone erosion could alter the proportions of your face. Muscle inflammation could also cause long-term swelling.
About Your La Jolla TMJ Disorder Expert
Dr. George Georgaklis is a recognized leader in the treatment of TMJ in San Diego. He has been published in the San Diego Chiropractic Journal and interviewed on the TV show Natural Healing. Contact him today to receive the care you need.