Most people don’t spend much time thinking about their temporomandibular joints (TMJs). However, without these joints on both sides of your face, you’ll lose your ability to chew, speak, or yawn. Unfortunately, prevailing myths surrounding temporomandibular disorders (TMD) prevent people from seeing a TMJ specialist in Solana and getting the relief they deserve. We’re here to help you separate fact from fiction by dispelling the common misconceptions about jaw pain and discomfort.
Dispelling Common Myths About Jaw Pain
MYTH #1: “You get jaw pain from chewing too much.”
Since chewing lubricates the TMJs, it doesn’t lead to jaw pain. In contrast, chronic and prolonged clenching or teeth grinding causes the facial muscles to reposition the TMJs out of their sockets to force teeth together. Conversely, jaw pain causes patients to grind their teeth to offset their discomfort.
MYTH #3: “Surgery is the only treatment for TMD.”
Contrary to popular belief, patients with TMD have more treatment options to stop their pain and improve their TMJ’s mobility. While dentists create personalized treatment plans with TMJ therapy, these often include orthodontics, jaw strengthening exercises, stress-relieving activities, or custom-made mouthguards. Moreover, they’ll only recommend surgery as a last resort.
MYTH #3: “All TMD cases result from accidents and injuries.”
Although accidents and injuries may cause TMD, not all cases result from trauma. Other possible causes of TMD include crooked teeth that negatively affect bite alignment. Moreover, a misaligned bite occurs when the upper and lower teeth aren’t balanced. Besides causing the jaw to rest in an uncomfortable position, this condition can lead to bruxism, the unconscious habit of clenching and grinding teeth. The pressure and strain will eventually cause TMD symptoms.
MYTH #4: “TMD isn’t a widespread problem.”
Research shows that TMD affects more than 10 million Americans. Although TMJ issues can affect all ages and genders, they’re common in women ages 20 to 40.
MYTH #5: “TMD only affects the jaw.”
Since muscles are interconnected, patients suffering from issues with the muscles in the jaw joints often experience pain throughout the upper body. For this reason, TMJ pain can translate into earache, neck pain, shoulder pain, and upper back pain. In addition, TMD can also trigger intense migraines.
MYTH #6: “Resting your jaw will make TMJ pain go away.”
Although giving your TMJs enough time to rest and heal is one of the excellent ways to treat TMD, your jaw joints will have difficulty getting that rest. The pain will worsen and spread without TMJ treatment from a qualified dentist. They’ll treat the condition based on its severity.
For instance, they might recommend simple remedies such as cold presses, over-the-counter painkillers, or anti-inflammatory medication for immediate pain relief. In addition, they might also recommend comprehensive treatment plans involving prescription mouthguards or corrective jaw surgeries if necessary.
MYTH #7: “You can pass TMD to your children.”
While TMD isn’t passed on from generation to generation in families, some risk factors may be passed on anatomically or by behavior modeling through habits.
Do You Need to See a TMJ Specialist in Solana?
At Inspire Smiles, we don’t want you to force yourself to keep living with pain and discomfort. We offer the TMD treatment you need to start feeling comfortable again. Contact our office today to learn more about our treatment options or make an appointment.