Since childhood, you may have always been aware of how important clean teeth and gums are to your oral health; hence the need for brushing and flossing every day. However, your oral health includes more than just your teeth and gums, but also a variety of oral tissues, your jawbone, and the complex joints that control your mouth’s movement. Known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, your jaw’s joints are located on either side of your face, and work together when you open and close your mouth. When these joints become damaged, you may develop a condition known as TMJ disorder, which can lead to chronic headaches, jaw pain, and many more symptoms.
What Are Temporomandibular Joints?
Your TMJs are not like other joints in your body, and their unique construction allows your jaw to move in a variety of motions and directions. Normally, TMJs can evenly disperse the pressure of your bite, allowing them and the muscles around them to absorb the stress. To work properly, the joints must move together, beginning and ending their motion at the same time. If your bite is uneven, if you consistently grind your teeth, or if your joints have been damaged by injury, then their function can be disturbed, and TMJ disorder can cause you to experience a wide variety of symptoms.
The Nerves Responsible for TMJ Disorder
Besides your TMJs, your jaw’s movement is also controlled by the three-branch nerves, or trigeminal nerves, that pass through the majority of your craniofacial structures. Trigeminal nerves make up the most dominant of your 12 cranial nerve groups, and when they are aggravated by malfunctioning jaw joints, the resulting symptoms can include;
- Severe, chronic headaches or migraines
- Recurring pain and/or ringing in your ears
- Popping sensations in your TMJs when you move your mouth
- Bruxism, or unconscious teeth-grinding
- Jaw and facial muscle spasms
- And more
ABOUT YOUR HOUSTON, TX, DENTIST:
At Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry in Houston, TX, Dr. Amy Vlachakis (pronounced Vla-ha-kiss) and her dedicated staff strive to make everyone feel like family, while providing top-notch general, cosmetic, and family dentistry services to patients of all ages. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, call our office today at (281) 974-4494. Located in Memorial City Plaza, we proudly serve patients throughout Houston, Memorial City, Bunker Hill, West Beltway, City Center, Hedwig Village, and all surrounding communities.