Did you know that you have two hidden joints called the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect your lower jaw to your skull? Located on both sides of your head, these joints enable you to eat and speak by helping you open and close your mouth. If you experience issues with your TMJ in Whittier, you shouldn’t wait to book an appointment with a trusted dental care provider.

While you can find plenty of information on the internet about TMJ disorders, not everything you read is true. To help you differentiate the truth from the myth, let’s take a look at the common misconceptions about disorders associated with jaw joints.

pain from TMJ Whittier

What Are the Common Misconceptions About TMJ Disorders?

MYTH #1: “TMJ disorders don’t affect other parts of the body except for the jaw.”

Besides affecting the jaw, TMJ disorders can also have a significant impact on the ears, head, shoulders, and upper back. Since the jaw joints are interconnected with the muscles in these areas, it’s not uncommon for TMJ pain to spread throughout the upper body.

MYTH #2: “With enough rest, TMJ pain will go away.”

While treating TMJ disorders involves giving your jaw joints enough time to rest and heal, your TMJ won’t be able to get that rest unless you avoid chewing or talking for a time. Since TMJ pain usually gets worse as it spreads, you’ll have to see a dentist who can give you the help you need to heal.  

MYTH #3: “TMJ disorders are solely caused by teeth grinding.”

Bruxism refers to the involuntary clenching, grinding, or gnashing of teeth during sleep. Besides causing considerable damage to the teeth, this condition also puts extra stress on the jaw joints. Although bruxism is one cause of TMJ disorders, there are others including arthritis, jaw injury, infections, autoimmune diseases, and more.

MYTH #4: “Your TMJ disorder is gone when your jaw stops making popping noises.”

A popping jaw is only one of the many symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Other symptoms include strong migraines, jaw pain, facial pain, earaches, neck pain, back pain, pain while chewing, restricted mouth movements, locking of the jaw joints, and loss of balance.

MYTH #5: “TMJ disorders are very rare.”

Some folks think that TMJ disorders are rare simply because people don’t talk about them often. In reality, about 12% of the American population suffers from a certain type of TMJ disorder. Even though many of them experience the symptoms, they don’t really know that the condition exists.  

MYTH #6: “TMJ disorders are permanent.”

Fortunately, they’re not. You can work with your dentist to find a type of treatment that’s based on the specific cause of your TMJ disorder. If your upper and lower jaw aren’t lining up properly due to your misaligned bite, you may have to seek orthodontic treatment. If whiplash from a car accident has caused severe damage to your jaw joints or connecting ligaments, you may require surgery to restore the alignment of your upper and lower jaws.  

Furthermore, if your TMJ disorder is caused by stress or anxiety, your dentist may suggest medication and therapy. Regardless of your treatment plan, you’ll need an oral appliance that’s specifically designed to protect your teeth from any possible damage associated with your TMJ disorder.  

pain from TMJ Whittier

Do You Need Treatment for TMJ Disorders in Whittier?

The highly skilled staff at Cataloochee Dental Group specializes in giving you your smile back. We take pride in being able to offer high-quality dental care for patients of all ages. Contact us today to make an appointment.