TMJ or TMD is a sequence of pain, jaw joint problems and muscle spasms that arise when the teeth, chewing muscles, and jaw joints don’t work together harmoniously. TMD refers to the problems with the muscles and joints that join the mandible bone of the jaw to the temporal bone at the base of the skull. Some TMJ symptoms may include headaches, worn out teeth, sore muscles in the face, neck, and shoulder. There are also several chronic diseases that are associated with temporomandibular joint disorder.
How TMJ can cause other diseases
1. Digestive tract health problems and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The TMJ is responsible for all jaw related activities and improper functioning of this joint results in improper mastication. Chewing your food correctly is the first step to proper digestion and good oral care. However, if you are unable to do so, you won’t be able to break down the food in your mouth. Poor absorption of nutrients increases the risk of food particles entering your bloodstream. This leads to an irritable bowel syndrome that results in a pattern of recurrent abdominal pain. Irritable bowel syndrome causes constipation or diarrhea, or a mixture of the two.
2. Sleep disorders, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome
TMJ disorder symptoms are often overlooked in case of other chronic conditions such as fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia. Temporomandibular joint disorder affects six main energy meridians due to their proximity to the jaw; those being the stomach, small intestine, adrenal gland, gallbladder, large intestine, and bladder. This can be aggravated if you were born with bite or facial distortions. The whole mouth is at fault: tongue, teeth, arches, missing teeth, receding chin, enlarged tonsils, mouth breathing, etc. If such problems aren’t addressed in time, it can also cause health problems, such as dizziness, anxiety, tinnitus, chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome can worsen with physical or mental activity but doesn’t improve with rest.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that affects the entire body. Approximately 10 million Americans have reported muscle pain and fatigue throughout the body. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia may include distorted attention, memory problems, sleep and urination problems.
4. Immune Dysfunction
Improper chewing is the root cause of gastrointestinal and can affect the overall immunity of your body. If you are unable to chew your food properly, undigested proteins act like foreign substances to your immune system that triggers the production of antibodies to fight it. High amounts of stress and unprocessed food in the gut are the two common factors for temporomandibular joint disorder which may lead to an immune system imbalance and a lower production of natural killer cells.
5. Cardiac Arrhythmia
Cardiac arrhythmia has been linked to TMD. Arrhythmia is characterized by exceptionally fast, slow or irregular heartbeats. Although it is harmless, arrhythmias can be life-threatening. Some symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, fainting and cardiac arrest.
6. Vertigo and Sinusitis
TMJ and sinuses are in close proximity to one another. Pain in the sinuses can worsen TMJ and vice versa. Since TMJ and sinuses often overlap, it may be difficult to know where the problem is arising from.
Timely diagnosis and intervention, followed by TMJ treatment is crucial and can save you a lot of trouble and trauma. If you are suffering from TMD, make an appointment with our experienced TMJ specialist in Goodyear, AZ, and we will make sure relief is on the way.