October 1, 2020
With smartphones and social media, answers to many questions about health and illness are just a few clicks away. However, the internet is often filled with misleading statements, half-truths, and just plain old lies. This is true even when it comes to online information about oral care issues like temporomandibular disorders, or TMD. So, how can you separate fact from fiction when it comes to chronic jaw pain? Trust the experts! Below, an experienced oral surgeon debunks 5 common TMD myths in Denver.
Myth #1: TMD Is a Rare Disorder
Even if you do not personally know anyone who is suffering from TMD symptoms, the truth is that TMD is a very common medical condition. In fact, research shows that TMD affects between 10 to 35 million American adults! While all ages can experience TMD, the disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 to 40 years old. Furthermore, TMD is significantly more prevalent in women than in men, although the precise reason for this is still being studied.
Myth #2: Only Accidents and Injuries Cause TMD
Injuries to the jaw, head or neck are indeed among the leading causes of TMD. However, physical trauma is not the ONLY source of temporomandibular disorders. The truth is that a wide range of factors can contribute to TMD, including:
- Grinding or clenching teeth at night
- Bite misalignment
- Poor posture
Myth #3: Your Headaches Have No Relation to TMD
The head, neck and jaw are all interconnected. Tension or pain in the temporomandibular joint can most certainly radiant outward and cause headaches. In fact, a research study conducted by the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine found that over 80% of females and nearly 20% of males had tension headaches caused by TMD. If you suffer from frequent headaches or even migraines, do not discount the possibility that TMD is the root cause.
Myth #4: TMD is Not a Serious Problem
Although TMD is almost never a fatal condition, chronic jaw problems can have serious negative impacts on your overall health. TMD can contribute to all of the following issues:
- Enamel erosion or cracked teeth due to bruxism
- Neck pain, which may eventually lead to disability or even paralysis
- Poor nutrition
- Weakened immune system due to poor diet and lack of sleep
Myth #5: TMD Always Requires Surgery
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for temporomandibular disorders. Some mild cases can be resolved with muscle relaxants, while other patients find success by wearing a custom oral appliance while they sleep. For severe cases of TMD, however, surgery is sometimes recommended to reduce painful symptoms. There are a range of surgical procedures used to treat TMD. An experienced oral surgeon in Denver will be able to recommend which type of surgery is right for you after an initial consultation.
There you have it: 5 common TMD myths in Denver – busted! For more information on chronic jaw pain and how to overcome it, do not hesitate to reach out to a trusted oral surgeon near you.
About the Author
Dr. Brian Fangman leads the knowledgeable team at Altitude Oral Maxillofacial Implant Center in Denver. An active member of the Colorado State Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, he is well-versed in freeing patients from chronic jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ dysfunction. For more information on TMD therapy, visit the Altitude Oral Maxillofacial Implant Center website or call 720-328-4990.
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