What is TMJ?
Feeling stressed out? Your not alone. A survey released on February 15, 2017 by the American Psychological Association reports that Americans say they’re feeling more stress than ever before. Unfortunately, there is quite a down side to lot’s of stress. It will ultimately affect your health in one form or another. This stands true with dental issues as well. TMJ problems are rising due to high stress levels in the world. TMJ or Temporomandibular Disorder is a condition that indicates the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly.
So what behaviors contribute to TMJ?
Many people who are stressed tend to develop some bad behaviors. Biting on fingernails, pen caps, or the inside of your mouth can cause jaw pain. Other conditions such as when that feeling of anxiety kicks in, we find a cheesy pizza, bag of chips or even ice cream. Let’s face it, there are many stress eaters out there. Unfortunately, when “stressing out”, people tend to eat larger bites while eating. To alleviate symptoms of TMJ, you need to avoid the behaviors. Stop chewing on your nails, or pen. While eating, take smaller bites. You can also regularly massage your jaw, cheeks and temple muscles.
Another symptoms of TMJ is spasms. Most patients find heat is helpful in relieving pain and muscle tension. This pain may radiate to your neck or shoulders. It can also cause ear pain, ringing the the ears and hearing loss. Symptoms typically manifest when talking, yawning or chewing. If symptoms occur, apply moist heat to the spasm area. Also, try to maintain good sleep posture with neck support. Good sleep posture is achieved when you maintain the curve in your lower back. It is recommended that a person lye on their back with a pillow under their knees. If that doesn’t work for you, try sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent.
Another habit that adds to TMJ symptoms is teeth grinding. Teeth grinding and clenching is a habit over time that will damage your teeth and will also add to TMJ symptoms. The best way to resolve this issue is to see your dentist and ask about a night guard. A night guard is a device that you where in your sleep and will prevent you from grinding.
Somewhere between the ages of 18-24 your wisdom teeth begin to erupt. Depending on how these teeth come in will depend if they need to be removed. It’s not necessary for you to get your wisdom teeth removed if they are correctly positioned in your mouth and do not cause any pain or dental problems. However, 85 percent of adults have their wisdom teeth removed to protect their over all oral health. Unfortunately, the eruption of wisdom teeth can be a painful experience that disrupts your daily life.
Common Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Swollen gums that are tender and bleeding
An impacted wisdom tooth can make your gums swollen and tender to the touch. They may even start to bleed. This can make brushing and flossing feel like an impossible task. As other dental issues can create the same symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist to have the situation evaluated.
Many times swollen glands accompany impacted wisdom teeth. Most times these glands are located in your shoulders and neck area.
Pain in the back of the mouth
An impacted tooth or teeth can cause you an immense amount of pain. As the tooth or teeth that are impacted continue to try and erupt, your pain and symptoms can become worse. The pain should be at its worse towards the back of the mouth but could in fact radiate down your jaw. The best way to diagnose a suspected emerging wisdom tooth is to visit your dentist.
Swelling around jaw
With swelling of your gums, many times impacted wisdom teeth can cause your jaw to swell. As the symptoms progress, your mouth may become difficult to open.
What happens if you ignore the problem?
I highly recommend that you do not ignore the problem. When impacted wisdom teeth are not removed, there could be complications. Impacted teeth can force other teeth out of place. They also can cause infection. Impacted wisdom teeth are prone to infection and decay so left untreated you could be looking at a serious problem down the line.
David M Glasscock DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
8430 Univ. Exec. Park Drive Suite 610
Charlotte, NC 28262
I know we have been conditioned that if you really want to get something clean you need to give it a good scrubbing. However, when it comes to your teeth, you can cause more harm than good!
Brushing to hard can wear down your tooth’s enamel as well as damage your gums by exposing very sensitive roots. It can also cause receding gums. Once your gums recede, it can result in an avalanche of dental issues from there. Periodontal Disease and cavities on the root of a tooth can lead to a root canal or tooth extraction.
Choosing the right toothbrush is important when you are extra diligent with your dental care. It is recommended that you use a soft-bristled tooth brush when brushing your pearly whites. Hard bristled or medium bristled toothbrushes are not the best choice for people who brush aggressively.
Knowing you are an aggressive brusher is the first step to correcting the issue. Being taught good dental brushing habits will usually prevent any dental damage from getting worse. Brushing your teeth aggressively is not the way to ensure all the plaque is removed. Plaque can be easily removed with a soft bristled brush as long as you reach all the surfaces that it hides.
It’s all about the technique! Have you heard the expression quality verses quantity? It should take you 2 to 3 minutes to brush your teeth thoroughly. First start by tilting your brush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline. Make sure to brush the inside and outside chewing surface of each tooth. And last but not least, gently brush your tongue.