By Susan Braden
Temporomandibular joint disorder affects the jaw joint, jaw muscles and nerves on the side of the head to cause pain in the head, face, neck and jaw area. If the bite is disrupted, this can affect the teeth as well. Many insurance companies will not provide benefits for this "preexisting condition," so some patients are investigating dental coverage through a discount plan instead.
At least 10 million Americans are affected by this condition, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. It affects the jaw joint and the muscles around the jaw bone, which control chewing, yawning, talking and other jaw movement. There are several categories of TMJ conditions, according to nonprofit organization TMJ Association, Ltd., but a person can be affected by more than one simultaneously.
If the condition affects the bite, it can also damage the teeth. It may wear down the teeth, and it may also inhibit tooth mobility. Your dentist may be able to determine whether your bite should be adjusted for the safety of your teeth. A stable bite is an important part of oral health. If the teeth come together unevenly or with too much force, it could cause fractures in both real and prosthetic teeth.
If you have been experiencing frequent headaches, jaw pain or discomfort while chewing, you may want to see a dentist to find out if you are suffering from this disorder. It may not be an emergency, but if left untreated, it could get incredibly painful, and the teeth could be permanently damaged or fractured. You may want to research for quality dental coverage and visit a dentist soon to find out how to treat the problem safely and effectively.