TMJ Disorder and Your Health
Dr. George Georgaklis is the top TMJ specialist in La Jolla and San Diego. Custom-made oral splints are the foundation of his TMJ treatment along with a combination of several different methods depending on your symptoms. Take steps to relieve your TMJ disorder-related pain and protect your oral and physical health by scheduling an appointment with the top TMJ specialist in La Jolla and San Diego today.
What Is TMD?
TMJ Disorder is a common condition 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. The TMJ is 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 be out of place. It can also result from inflammation in the nearby muscles and ligaments.
The Importance of Treating TMJ Disorder
If you suffer from jaw pain, headaches, or jaw stiffness, it may be due to untreated TMJ disorder and you should seek the help of a TMJ specialist immediately. Not only will your symptoms worsen and cause significant discomfort, untreated TMJ disorder can also have serious consequences for your dental, physical, and emotional health.
- 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 clenching, which may be 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.
- 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 cases of untreated TMD, bone erosion could alter the proportions of your face. Muscle inflammation could also cause long-term swelling.
See the top TMJ Specialist in La Jolla and San Diego
Dr. George is the premier TMJ specialist in San Diego. He has been published in the San Diego Chiropractic Journal and interviewed on the TV show Natural Healing. Call us today at (858) 552-1223 to schedule an appointment. Stay connected, like us on Facebook!