Most people think dental problems primarily affect the elderly population (or those who fail to follow a strict daily oral hygiene regime). However, despite your age, and your best efforts to maintain a healthy smile, you can still develop some problematic dental issues.
Research from Colgate suggests you may be at an increased risk of developing issues with your temporomandibular joint. What is your temporomandibular joint, and how can you identify problems with it with your family dentist before they become a major concern? Knowing that may be the key to getting you back to enjoying days that are carefree (and painless).
Feel with your index fingers on the sides of your face right in front of your ears and you’ll discover a bony protrusion. This is your temporomandibular (TMJ, in short) joint. It connects your jaw bone to the skull and enables you to talk and chew food.
This joint is surrounded by cartilage and features a disk between which your skull and jaw bone meet, which absorbs the shock of its impact. This disk or cartilage can cause painful grinding in the joint if damaged.
Identifying TMJD Early
TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorders) is another commonly identified cause of trauma to the jaw. The many activities that you engage as a teenager (including sports) can increase your risk of experiencing such a trauma. Yet how do you tell if you develop TMJD? The initial symptoms and signs could include:
- Jaw pain
- Trouble chewing food or talking
- Struggles in opening your mouth wide
- Hearing a clicking sound in your jaw
While these may seem like little more than a daily nuisance at first, they can quickly progress into more serious issues like chronic headaches and neck pain, earaches, vertigo (dizziness) and a perpetual ringing in your ears. If left untreated, TMJD can ultimately lead to serious problems with jaw alignment and chronic facial pain.
You may not be able to avoid developing TMJD but there’s something you can do about it. Dr. Wewel offers a wide range of treatments to overcome the daily distraction of TMJ problems. Call us today at (402) 800-1268 to schedule an appointment at our offices in Omaha, NE where you and your parents will have the opportunity to discuss the many options available.