If you have ever suffered from jaw pain in Kansas City, then you know it can be debilitating. It can make everyday activities – like chewing or talking – very uncomfortable. If you are experiencing jaw pain regularly and can not find any relief, you may suffer from a jaw disorder affecting over 3 million Americans yearly.
TMJ – short for temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder – is a condition that can be extremely painful and, without proper treatment, lead to more serious health problems.
What is TMJ, Exactly?
The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It works as a hinge that slides back and forth, allowing you to utilize your jaw by opening and closing it. You have two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of your head below your ears.
TMJ occurs when the ligaments and muscles surrounding your jawbone become inflamed or irritated. This irritation may be caused by several different factors:
- Acute trauma to the jaw
- Arthritis in the jaw bone
- Bruxism – also known as the clenching or grinding of the teeth
- An improper or misaligned bite
When the surrounding ligaments and muscles become inflamed and the temporomandibular joint is not functioning properly, it can lead to many unpleasant symptoms.
TMJ Symptoms in Kansas City, MO
TMJ symptoms in Kansas City can vary, as this condition does not always present as jaw pain alone. Other TMJ symptoms may include:
- Clicking or popping sound from the jaw when you open or close your mouth
- Difficulty chewing or opening your mouth
- Facial swelling
- Jaw locking
- Jaw pain
- Pain in your neck or shoulders
- Tinnitus – or ringing in your ears
- Tooth pain
Leaving your TMJ untreated can lead to further health problems, which can be avoided with proper Kansas City, MO, TMJ treatment.
Health Risks Associated with Untreated TMJ
Other than the obvious chronic jaw pain, untreated TMJ can result in more painful symptoms and further health complications. You can read about some of the most common below:
Airway Sleep Disorders
If your jaw is misaligned and doesn’t rest in the correct position, it can cause your airway to become obstructed as you sleep. This can cause you to develop obstructive sleep apnea in Kansas City, the most common type of sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea – also known as OSA – occurs when your throat muscles relax to the point of blocking your airway as you sleep. This causes you to stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer, and your brain will wake you up to resume breathing.
This will prevent you from receiving adequate, undisturbed sleep leading to daytime sleepiness, trouble concentrating, and increased irritability, as well as increasing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke if left untreated.
Constant Headaches and Migraines
Although headaches are a common TMJ symptom in Kansas City, if your TMJ is left untreated, your headaches and migraines will only intensify.
Experiencing moderate to severe headaches and migraines often will affect your overall quality of life, making it difficult to perform daily tasks, work, or even get up in the morning.
If you do not allow your jaw bone to heal, there will be increased inflammation and joint damage. This is why receiving proper Kansas City TMJ treatment is crucial to reducing your risk of severe jaw damage.
If the joint damage becomes excessive, it may limit your TMJ treatment options and could lead to surgery being your only option.
Tinnitus is a ringing in one or both of your ears that is constant or may come and go. If you do not receive TMJ treatment, your tinnitus will only worsen.
This constant ringing sound may make it hard for you to concentrate throughout the day, and it may cause you to become more irritable.
The Best TMJ Treatment in Kansas City
To avoid intensified TMJ symptoms and other health problems, you don’t want to wait to seek TMJ treatment. You have options to treat your TMJ that do not involve invasive surgery. Here are some of the effective treatment options available:
- Physiologic Neuromuscular dental treatment – this treatment involves diagnosing the underlying jaw/neck alignment problem that is the root cause of TMJ. The next step is to correct it with a fixed orthotic for 90 days and later stabilize it for long-term, non-surgically.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy – a type of therapy that involves exercises to improve the positioning and strength of your mouth and throat muscles.
- SPG blocks – also known as sphenopalatine ganglion blocks, this type of procedure involves a local anesthetic being delivered to the sphenopalatine ganglion to reduce headache pain. A sphenopalatine ganglion is a group of nerve cells behind the nose.
Start Treating Your TMJ In Kansas City
Are you ready to eliminate unwanted jaw pain and treat your TMJ? It’s time to schedule an appointment with Kansas City TMJ dentist Dr. Prabu Raman of Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep. Dr. Raman specializes in Physiologic Neuromuscular Dentistry, which allows him to help you achieve optimal dental health and jaw function.
Please call (816) 436-4422 or use our online form to schedule an appointment. Dr. Raman – your Kansas City TMJ dentist – is ready to treat your TMJ and bring you much-needed jaw pain relief!