A Day With TMD: Signs, Pains, And Depression

February 16, 2017

Everyone has bad days. — times when you can’t sleep and spend the day in a fog, or nothing seems to go right. You can get through such days because you know they’ll end. Tomorrow will probably be better.

But if you are suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, tomorrow will probably be the same. It hardly ever gets better. That’s why you need to call our Roseville, CA dental office today at 916-945-9985 for TMJ treatment.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder is when your jaw joints and associated muscles are irritated, sore, or damaged. You use these joints whenever you open and close your mouth. With TMJ disorder, that means you’ll have discomfort whenever you chew, drink, talk, or just open your mouth to breathe. Sometimes, TMJ pain is caused by malocclusion, or your teeth not biting down the right way. It can also be caused by stress, bruxism, overuse of the jaw, or an injury.

People with TMJ disorder can have different symptoms. You might have pain only in your jaw, while someone else could mostly have pain in the ears and neck. Everyone’s TMJ problem is slightly different, but there are a lot of common symptoms: pain (jaw, neck, and/or upper back), jaw stiffness, clicking and popping noises when moving the jaw, and more. When the pain is untreated, it can even cause migraines and loss of sleep.

A Day With TMJ Pain And More

To give you an idea of how serious TMJ disorder can be, here’s what a day dealing with TMJ pain can be like.

Wake up: Your alarm doesn’t have to wake you up. You spent most of your night tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep because of the pain in your jaw and shoulders. The alarm was almost a relief because now you can get up. You’re still exhausted, though. You’re worried about how this will affect your day. You also have a mild headache and some pain in your jaw from grinding teeth, but it’s something you’ve learned to live with.

Breakfast: You try to eat something, but you only manage a few bites of toast and some coffee. The pain in your jaw gets worse when you chew. Even your teeth are a bit sensitive. You know you need to eat something, so you force yourself to deal with the discomfort.

Morning commute: The traffic is bad like normal. The stress starts to build, and you can feel the muscles in your neck and shoulders start to tense up. This brings the first neck pain of the day. You know that’s just the start.

Morning at work: Your day goes by slowly. You try to stay focused on work, but it’s hard when there’s pain in your jaw, neck, and shoulders. At a meeting, you have trouble hearing what the presenter is talking about because there’s a ringing in your ears.

Lunch: Everyone ordered out, but there was nothing there you felt comfortable eating. You were worried it would hurt too much. As everyone talks about how great their lunches are, you slowly chew on something soft and bland you took from home. Your jaw starts making strange noises, and when the conversation suddenly dies down, everyone nearby hears the clicking and popping noises from your jaw. They look at you and wonder what’s wrong.

Afternoon at work: By this time, that mild headache you felt when you woke up has turned into a full-blown migraine. Another meeting happens, and again you have trouble focusing with the tinnitus and pains.

Dinner with family: A day full of discomfort and pain is finally starting to get to you. You sit down with your family for dinner, and the kids are being loud and a bit crazy. You chew, the pain hits hard, and you finally snap at your kids. They’re strangely quiet for the rest of the meal. Your wife glares at you. You try to keep eating, but now your jaw is hard to open and close. Lockjaw is kicking in. You struggle visibly with every bite until you finally give up. Hungry or not, you can’t deal with it right now.

Bedtime: You’re fatigued, cranky, and worried about how much sleep you’ll get tonight. But you know you have to sleep or things will be worse. You leave your wife watching TV and go to bed alone. The tossing and turning returns, even after your wife comes to bed. That only makes things worse because you’re worried about keeping her up.

You probably do not have every symptom described above. But if you do not get any treatment for TMD, this can easily happen to you. Don’t put off dealing with pain any longer. At our Roseville, CA dental office, Dr. Miller has advanced standing in all four major TMJ disorder organizations. He has the advanced training necessary to properly diagnose and treat TMJ disorder. Call us today at 916-945-9985 for your next appointment.

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